Monday, December 15, 2014

Give the Gift of Michigan Beer & Brewery Swag

Chances are you have a craft beer lover (or two) on your holiday shopping list. This year, give the gift of Michigan beer, while also supporting locally-owned businesses and the state’s overall agricultural industry.

Stop in your local microbrewery or brewpub and pick up a growler, four- or six-pack of a seasonal brew and build your own gift basket with a selection of brewery swag like stickers, buttons, t-shirts, home décor, bottle openers, gift cards and other unique stocking stuffers. A membership in the pub’s “mug club” would also be a nice offering.

Many retail outlets around the state also feature Michigan-made brews, including 12-bottle variety packs or build-your-own-six-pack options which provide a more personal touch to your gift giving.

Shop online at for a variety of logoed items from the Michigan Brewers Guild. You’ll find everything from apparel, backpacks, tote bags, drinkware, eyewear, flags, license plates, beach balls, bottle openers, patches, pins, stickers, tin tackers, umbrellas and more.

Michigan Brewers Guild Enthusiast Memberships also make great gifts, providing a year of benefits like pre-sale dates for the four official festivals and one hour early admission to each, dollar-off pint options at participating breweries, special brewery tours and an official Enthusiast t-shirt — all for just $45.

A handful of books dedicated to Michigan beer can also be found to enhance a gift pack, including the Beervangelist's Guide to the Galaxy: A Philosophy of Food & Drink by New Holland Brewing Company’s Beervangelist Fred Bueltmann; Art in Fermented Form: A Manifesto by New Holland Brewing Company’s Brett VanderKamp; Ann Arbor Beer: A Hoppy History of Tree Town Brewing by David Bardallis; and Michigan’s Best Beer Guide by Kevin Revolinski.

For video fans, DVDs of the inaugural season of the Great American Brew Trail featuring Amy Sherman as well as The Michigan Beer Film from Rhino Media are also great gifts.

At Meijer, look for a 2015 calendar focused on a dozen Michigan breweries. Or, head over to the Pure Michigan store for one of their logoed 15-ounce beer mugs.

Consider a gift certificate to Saugatuck Brewing for their popular “Brew Your Own Beer” program (perfect for family gatherings). Or, indulge with one of the “Brew & Renew” spa packages available at the JW Marriott in downtown Grand Rapids.

About the Michigan Brewers Guild
The Michigan Brewers Guild was formed in 1997 and held its first festival in July 1998. Today, the Guild hosts four festivals dedicated exclusively to Michigan craft beer produced by its nearly 140 member breweries. The Guild exists to unify the community of brewers, to increase the sale of Michigan Craft Beer, to contribute culturally and economically throughout the state, and to monitor and assure a healthy brewing industry. By working collaboratively with proponents of craft beer, we strive to achieve a 10% share of all beer sold in Michigan by producing world-class events, increasing public awareness, educating consumers, and encouraging responsible consumption. Michigan ranks #5 in the nation for the number of craft breweries – thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State”.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

MiWinter Beer Fest Tickets Sell at Record Pace

Saturday Tickets SOLD OUT!
Friday Tickets Remain Available at

Saturday tickets for the 10th Annual Michigan Winter Beer Festival, held the end of February at Fifth-Third Ballpark north of downtown Grand Rapids have sold out in record time, once again. Tickets went on sale at 10am today (Thursday, December 4) and were sold out in less than a half-hour.

“We are pleased that we have added the second day to this popular event,” says Scott Graham, executive director of the Michigan Brewers Guild.

Earlier this summer, the Guild announced the expansion of its wildly popular Winter Beer Festival to a two-day event to accommodate growing demand for tickets. The Friday session will be held from 3-7pm. Tickets for Friday remain available, at $45 each, at

“I don’t ever want to take for granted how enthusiastic our fans get when it comes to attending our festivals,” Graham says. “It is both humbling and overwhelming that our festivals are so popular. It’s a testament to Michigan’s great craft brewing culture.”

Earlier this week, Enthusiast Members were offered a pre-sale period to purchase 1 ticket per person, per festival day, as a benefit of membership. Enthusiast membership also allows individuals the opportunity to one-hour early admission to all festivals, among other benefits.

The Michigan Brewers Guild was formed in 1997 and held its first festival in July 1998. Today, the Guild hosts four festivals dedicated exclusively to Michigan craft beer produced by its nearly 140 member breweries. The Guild exists to unify the community of brewers, to increase the sale of Michigan Craft Beer, to contribute culturally and economically throughout the state, and to monitor and assure a healthy brewing industry. By working collaboratively with proponents of craft beer, we strive to achieve a 10% share of all beer sold in Michigan by producing world-class events, increasing public awareness, educating consumers, and encouraging responsible consumption. Michigan ranks #5 in the nation for the number of craft breweries – thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State”.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Hudsonville Ice Cream Celebrates Michigan's Winter Wonderland with New Seasonal Flavors

Summer isn’t the only time to enjoy Michigan-based Hudsonville Ice Cream. Try the latest winter Limited Edition flavors, which warm your heart and soul on chilly, snowy days and nights.

• Pure Michigan Winter Campfire — Original vanilla ice cream with marshmallow, graham cracker pieces and milk chocolate flakes creates the perfect frozen version of your favorite campfire treat. Curl up with a bowl and watch the snow and cold melt away. Just be sure to enjoy it before it melts! Winner of the 2014 Pure Michigan Winter Flavor Contest (beating out Cabin Fever and Lake Superior Thaw and joining Double Berry Pie and Caramel Apple as other award-winning flavors).

• Peppermint Stick — A seasonal favorite reminiscent of the holidays, made by taking traditional candy cane pieces and mixing them into our Original Vanilla ice cream. Perfect on its own or in a creative recipe.

• Chicago Caramel Popcorn — Inspired by Chicago’s delicious kettle popped goodness, this flavor is sure to become a Midwest favorite. You will love the big city taste of this buttery caramel ice cream and crunchy clusters swirled with a salty caramel ribbon.

• Pumpkin Pie — A limited amount of this seasonal favorite may also be available, perfect for pairing with your upcoming holiday meal or celebration. Served alone or as the a la mode to your favorite pie, this flavor returns to the freezer case just in time for holiday celebrations. With its traditional pumpkin pie flavors and now with actual pieces of pie crust, it makes a wonderful compliment to your dessert table.

“This season’s winter Limited Edition combines old time favorites like Peppermint stick, a top holiday seller, with our new Pure Michigan-inspired Winter Campfire,” says CJ Ellens of Hudsonville Ice Cream. “We are excited to bring new innovation to our winter lineup!”

These, and countless other Hudsonville Ice Cream flavors can be found in grocery stores and ice cream parlors in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Illinois. In addition to its “All Season” flavors, which are available year round, several “Seasonal Flavors” are offered on a limited basis throughout the year.

Started in 1895 as a farmers’ cooperative, the Holland-based Hudsonville Creamery & Ice Cream is the largest manufacturer of branded ice cream in Michigan. For more than 80 years, this Midwest company has been producing its creamy, delicious ice cream – using many of its original flavors, while at the same time creating refreshing new recipes inspired by the Great Lakes.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Record Crowds Fill DeVos Place During 7th Annual GR International Wine, Beer & Food Festival

It was a banner year for attendance at the Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer & Food Festival which was held November 20-22 at DeVos Place. According to Festival organizers, attendance was up nearly 10% meaning more than 18,500 individuals gathered at the largest wine and food festival in the Midwest.

In all, more than 1400 beverages were available for sampling (wine, beer, cider, mead, spirits, coffee and other specialty drinks). Nearly 20 area restaurants participated as well as countless culinary and lifestyle related exhibitors throughout the Riverfront Marketplace and RendezBREW Café. Most of the 60-plus workshops and seminars were at or beyond capacity throughout the three-day Festival as well.

“It’s all about tasting and this year’s festival took it up a notch with diverse exhibitors offering up the very best of their products,” says Dawn Baker, Festival Manager. “It was wonderful to see the excitement grow daily as people enjoyed the variety of beverages and foods featured, then learned to pair them together. This has become a true pre-holiday celebration for West Michigan and beyond.”

“The feedback I got from my group was that they loved the better signage at the booths this year and the FSU students seems more engaged and excited, which made visiting the booths much more fun,” says Lysandra French, a long-time festival attendee. “We loved that Meijer was two tickets for a great sample of food. Also loved the lobster mac and cheese, tried a new ice cream and visited the Brewers Loft. Some in my party said that the offerings were AMAZING. Kudos, this Festival get better and better every single year!”


“This year’s Wine, Beer, & Food Festival surpassed my expectations. We were ecstatic to see so many of our customers and potential customers come to look at innovation in a whole new light. Putting on a seminar to show the ways you can pair your favorite ice cream with beer and liquor was an eye opener for the audience—taking ‘thinking outside the box’ to a whole new level. The same customer who knows what it’s like to enjoy a premium craft beer made here in Michigan is the same customer who enjoys Hudsonville Ice Cream—small-batch crafted by our in-house artisans. We’ll definitely be back next year!” — Ray Sierengowski Hudsonville Ice Cream, Holland.

“Great show this weekend. We had a fun time and sold out of everything!” — Scott Hartmann, Two Scotts Barbecue, Grand Rapids.

"This being our first year at the festival gave us, as a new company, great exposure to consumers in a lot of different markets. The seminars acted as a great outlet for education as well. Both seminars we presented gave us access to over 50 people to share our brand and our story with. Over all a very well run festival."— Mark Fellwock, Coppercraft Distillery, Holland.

“AGA Marvel had a very exciting and engaging experience at this year’s show! We were very pleased at the reception of our new products. The Festival was the perfect platform to showcase the pride we take in manufacturing locally in Greenville, Michigan. AGA Marvel looks forward to another dynamic opportunity in 2015!” — Diane Devereaux, AGA Brand Manager, Greenville.

"We have always enjoyed participating in the International Wine, Beer and Food Festival, but were particularly impressed with how many new faces we encountered at the 2014 show. We loved the opportunity to share our food with so many new people, and to show the community what we have to offer." — Christian Madsen, Executive Chef, JW Marriott Grand Rapids

“We enjoyed meeting many of our fans - it has almost become an annual tradition. The really enjoyable part however was connecting with attendees that we had not met before. The Fest is one of the best opportunities we have to both educate our customers and to learn more ourselves.” — Don Coe, Black Star Farms, Suttons Bay

“Event marketing at its best. We were able to meet hundreds of new customers and visit with all of our loyal ones.” — Aaron Harr, Fenn Valley Vineyards in Fennville.

Old Mission Beer Co. Releases Jubilance Holiday Ale – A Collaboration Brew Handcrafted with Traverse City-made Press On Juice

Old Mission Beer Co.,the in-house beer brand offered exclusively at Jolly Pumpkin - Old Mission Peninsula, announces its inaugural collaboration brew: Jubilance Holiday Ale—a special seasonal brew crafted with locally-produced Press On Juice.

A release party will start at 5:30pm on Wednesday, November 26 at Jolly Pumpkin on Old Mission Peninsula—the noted “biggest bar night of the year.” Brewer Mike Wooster and Press On Juice Founder Kris Rockwood will both be on hand from 5:30-7:30pm hosting a Q&A about the beer and its creation.

Brewed with local Crystal and Zeus hops, Jubilance comes in at 7% ABV and 40 IBUs.

“The specialty grains lend a candied sugar presence, while giving the beer a burgundy color that are sharpened by the color of the cranberry, orange, apple and ginger juices,” says assistant brewer Mike Wooster. “The blend of barley, wheat and rye are complimented with ginger juice, while the fermented fructose from cranberry give it a tart, boozy finish.”

Press On Juice was founded in 2013 by Traverse City native Kris Rockwood, as a lifestyle change following a diagnosis of immobilizing rheumatoid arthritis. Each of her 30 or so juice recipes are created using a multi-step production process. She starts with grinding at least two pounds of raw, organic fruits and vegetables into a fine pulp that is then placed in a linen bag and slowly squeezed on a hydraulic press to maximize extraction of the juice and its nutritional enzymes. Each cold-press bottle of delicious Press On Juice is all natural, loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and living enzymes which provide health-conscious customers beverages that aid in weight loss, nutrition and disease prevention.

“I am so excited to be collaborating with Old Mission Beer to create this superior brew with our two companies. We are looking forward to Wednesday night getting to see people’s reaction to this fun combination! It’s going to be a great drink for the holiday season,” says Kris.

Old Mission Beer Co. IS the in-house beer brand offered exclusively at Jolly Pumpkin-Old Mission Peninsula. Jolly Pumpkin is part of Northern United Brewing Co., which also encompasses the Grizzly Peak and North Peak Beer Co. craft beer brands, as well as Civilized Spirits and Bonafide Wines. NUBC’s philosophy focuses on a dedication to conservation, inspiration and locally-sustainable practices.

Old Mission Beer Co. at Jolly Pumpkin Brewery-Old Mission Peninsula
13512 Peninsula Drive
Traverse City, MI 49686
(231) 223-4222

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Dragonmead Microbrewery Expands Into 11,000-square-foot Facility; 1,000-square-foot Taproom

Dragonmead Microbrewery has completed its brewing system expansion located in its Warren facility at 14600 East Eleven Mile Road. The company now has control of the entire 11,000 square foot facility that features a 1,000 square foot taproom.

In November of last year a new 20 barrel brew house and cellars were added inside the facility. Demand in Michigan alone far-exceeds the former 3 barrel equipment. “The smaller system is the key to our ability to provide a high variety of ales and lagers,” stated Larry Channell, founding member of Dragonmead Microbrewery. “Variety is the key to satisfying our customers. They have come to expect high quality and high variety from Dragonmead.”

The smaller brewing system and cellaring operations were dismantled and relocated next to the larger production equipment.

“Relocation of the 3 barrel operations required all new piping and wiring to accommodate the new location,” says Earl Scherbarth, founding member and project manager for the expansion. “It has been a long process requiring great attention to detail in order to ensure that our quality standards can continue to be met.”

This year the company introduced a seasonal line of products in both bottles and draught. Oktoberfest, Devil’s Knight Pumpkin Ale, Jul Øl a Norwegian Spiced Christmas Ale and St. Nicole’s Weizenbock (February release) have added to the bottled beers already in the marketplace. Soon to be released in bottles as a year-round product is Sin Eater, a high-gravity Dark Belgian Ale. Sin Eater is currently available in the Tap Room in Warren.

“Having the variety system in place and producing again will allow us to once again offer over 40 different styles of beer on tap at our taproom here in Warren,” says Jennifer Locher, Pub Manager for Dragonmead. “The variety will be in place in time for the holidays.”

In addition to the beer on tap, the pub serves a high variety of wine and mead both by the glass and in bottles. Earlier in 2014 Dragonmead’s mead earned five medals in the International Mazer Cup Mead Competition thus establishing Dragonmead as one of the state’s premier mead producers.

To celebrate the return of the highest variety of beers style on tap in a brewery-pub Dragonmead will be open Monday through Saturday at 11 a.m. for lunch. Sunday hours have also returned from 1 p.m. – 8 p.m. The food menu features locally produced sausages prepared by their partnership with Lazybones Smokehouse (27475 Groesbeck Hwy, Roseville) called Dragonbones. Monday through Wednesday evenings feature rotating specials.

Dragonmead Microbrewery enjoys distribution throughout the state of Michigan. It can be found in bottles and on draught at hundreds of restaurants and retail outlets all the way into the Upper Peninsula. Always present at the various beer sampling festivals, dinners and tap take-overs all year round. You can find their beer at the Renaissance Festival, Ford Field and Joe Louis Arena.

About Dragonmead Microbrewery
Founded in 1997, Dragonmead Microbrewery was granted a brewing permit in 1998. The three founding members Earl Scherbarth, Larry Channell and Bill Wrobel are all former (and current) auto executives with a passion for brewing the best beer in the world eventually in every recognized beer style.

Dragonmead Microbrewery is consistently ranked in the top breweries in the world on beer rating websites and They are known both for their high-gravity beers, as well as their accurate examples of traditional styles.

The brewery has won countless awards at competitions across the world. With five medals from the prestigious World Beer Cup and five medals from the International Mazer Mead Competition adding to numerous local and national awards, Dragonmead Microbrewery is one of the most-awarded breweries in the United States.

Dragonmead Microbrewery is a proud member of both the Michigan Brewers Guild and the national Brewer’s Association. Their brewers are members of the Detroit chapter of the Master Brewers’ Association of the Americas.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Convention/Arena Authority Presents 2014 Chairman’s Award to Michigan Grape & Wine Industry Council

((L-r) Henri Boucher, ShowSpan; Michigan Grape & Wine Industry Council Director; Richard Rinvelt; Michigan Grape & Wine Industry Council Board; Mark Esterman, Michigan Grape & Wine Industry Council Board; Steve Heacock, Convention Arena Authority; Karel Bush Michigan Grape & Wine Industry Council Staff; Michael Brenton, Michigan Grape & Wine Industry Council Board; Gordon Wenk, Michigan Grape & Wine Industry Council Chair.)

Michigan’s wine industry has been an integral part of the Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer & Food Festival since it was first held in 2008. To recognize this long-standing support, the Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention/Arena Authority (CAA) will honor the Michigan Grape & Wine Industry Council with its 2014 Chairman’s Award. The honor will be presented on Thursday, November 20 at DeVos Place, during a kick-off reception to this year’s Festival and is sponsored by Clark Hill.

This year, 31 Michigan wineries will sample close to 250 wines, including many Gold Medal offerings from the 2014 Tasters Guild International Wine Judging and winners from the Michigan Gold Medal Wine Competition.

“Michigan’s award-winning wine industry has been an integral part of the Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer & Food Festival since its early planning stages,” says Steven Heacock, CAA Chairman. “From samplings and pairings to seminars and workshops, the local wineries have helped us create memorable experiences for our guests. We are proud to recognize them this year with our ‘Chairman’s Award’ and look forward to many great years together.”

The actual award is a large wine glass (large enough to hold a bottle of wine), inscribed with the CAA logo at the top, then “Cheers! To Our Exceptional Community Partner” followed by the Michigan Wine Council’s logo.

“The Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council has been pleased to support the Grand Rapids Food, Wine and Beer Festival since its inception in 2008,” says Gordon Wenk, Chair of the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council. “It is gratifying to see the number of Michigan wineries that participate each year. The event has had an important impact in raising awareness of the quality of Michigan wine among consumers.”

The Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council is a 12-member panel that supports the growth of the grape and wine industry in Michigan. It is housed in the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, which is the official state agency charged with serving, promoting and protecting the food, agriculture and agricultural economic interests of the people of the state of Michigan.

In addition to the nearly three dozen Michigan wineries participating in this year’s Festival several tasting workshops are planned. Additionally, two of the Pairing restaurants will toast their local winemakers. Spinnaker and Reds on the River will each feature Gold Medal Michigan wines at their Pairings throughout the festival. Reds will showcase the Peninsula Cellars 2012 Late Harvest Riesling during the dessert course, paired with a Gala Apple Tarte Tatin. The Spinnaker will offer an award-winning Michigan wine selection with each of its courses.

Michigan Wine Facts:

• Michigan ranks #7 in the nation in wine grape acreage—at about 2650 acres.
• Michigan boasts four Federally-recognized viticultural appellations (Lake Michigan Shore, Fenn Valley, Old Mission Peninsula & Leelanau Peninsula).
• Riesling is the most widely planted wine grape, and Michigan is the only state/province in North America with that distinction.
• Michigan's 125+ winery tasting rooms welcome more than 2 million visitors to their tasting rooms each year and offer a truly Pure Michigan agri-tourism experience.
• Michigan ranks in the Top 10 states in the U.S. for wine production.
• Sales of Michigan wines in the state rose nearly 5 percent in 2013. Michigan wine sales have outpaced total wine sales over the past 12 years, doubling Michigan wineries’ market share to 6.5%.
• Michigan’s wine and grape industries annually contribute more than $800 million to the state's economy.

Past recipients of the Chairman’s Award, which was first presented in 2011, include West Side Beer, Meijer and Gemini Publications. Clark Hill has been the primary sponsor of the award and the Chairman’s Reception, since both were first introduced.

Clark Hill PLC is an entrepreneurial, full-service law firm that provides business legal services, government and public affairs, and personal legal services to clients throughout the country. With offices in Arizona, Delaware, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia, Clark Hill has more than 300 attorneys and professionals.
DeVos Place Convention Center is owned and operated by the CAA, a Michigan statutory authority, which is governed by a seven-member board of directors appointed by the County of Kent, the City of Grand Rapids, Michigan and the private sector. In addition to DeVos Place Convention Center, the CAA owns and operates DeVos Performance Hall and the Van Andel Arena. Kent County and the City of Grand Rapids established the CAA to encourage economic development and job creation in downtown Grand Rapids. The CAA has contracted with SMG, a private management company, to run day-to-day operations of the facilities.

The 7th Annual Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer & Food Festival – produced as a partnership of the CAA and Wine & Food Festival, Inc., using ShowSpan event production and personnel – is expected to draw more than 17,000+ individuals throughout the three days – making it the largest food and wine festival in the state and one of the premiere events of its kind in the Midwest.

*Attendance at this festival is for those 21 years of age and older. ID is required for admittance.*

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Chef Mario Batali To Spend Black Friday in Downtown Traverse City for a Live Remote on the Omelette & Friends Morning Show

Internationally-recognized celebrity chef, restaurateur and part-time Leelanau County resident Mario Batali will join the Omelette & Friends Morning Show on WKLT 97.5/98.9 FM at Horizon Books in downtown Traverse City on Friday, November 28. Omelette & Friends will be broadcasting live Friday, November 28 (8-10am) outside in front of Horizon Books. Mario will join the show at 9:30 am. The interview will be streamed live on or on the KLT App.

The special "Black Friday" broadcast will encourage shopping in downtown districts throughout Northern Michigan. For culinary aficionados this will also be a unique opportunity to spend time with Mario Batali in his only Michigan appearance to sign copies and discuss his New York Times bestselling book, America—Farm to Table: Simple, Delicious Recipes Celebrating Local Farmers, which was released in October.

"When Mario reached out to us and asked that we coordinate his book signing and only Michigan appearance on his book tour we were honored," said Omelette, host of the Omelette & Friends Morning Show on WKLT. "We immediately asked that the event also promote downtown shopping and he agreed. It's no secret that Mario lives here part time and while he graciously promotes Northern Michigan every chance he gets, his schedule seldom allows for public appearances. We are very excited that during his annual family Thanksgiving visit to Northern Michigan he is taking time for this event."

Following the radio interview Chef will join Rick Coates, Omelette's co-host and producer for a Q&A inside of Horizons Books in the lower level Café. Coates—a long-time food and beverage writer, a former chef to rock stars and friend of Mario—will ask Chef Batali questions about the new America: Farm to Table book, as well as questions about cooking and food preparations tips, behind the scenes of Mario's award-winning show “The Chew,” his favorite places in Northern Michigan and more. Audience members will get an opportunity to submit questions. Seating will be available and there is no cost for the Q&A, which should begin around 9:45 am.

Copies of the 352-page cookbook, which includes brief profiles of some northern Michigan farmers, will be available for purchase for $35. Mario will also sign copies upon request. He says the book celebrates American farmers: their high-quality products and their culture, defined by hard work, integrity and pride.

“This book is a loose itinerary, or road map, that will hopefully lead you to develop relationships with local farmers, but also to enjoy the improvisational style of cooking that will elevate the flavor of the dishes you create when you buy products from a farm or at a farmers’ market and bring them directly to your table,” says Mario Batali on the book cover.

Among the featured farmers is Bardenhagen Farms in Sutton’s Bay, noted for its fruit (including cherries). Mario shares the story from Vernon to Ryan to the next generation with Ginger and her brother Chris.

In researching this latest title, Mario traveled to 14 cities across the country, interviewing chefs and their suppliers, crafting together “a highly entertaining behind-the scenes look at the business of small farming” writes Publishers Week. “The beautifully produced work at times has the feel of being two different books sewn together. And that’s not a bad thing. On one hand, celebrity master chef Batali comes through again with an inspired collection of appetizers, soups, main dishes, sandwiches, and desserts. Most of his more than 100 recipes, unsurprisingly, have an Italian spin.”

The James Beard Award Winning Mario Batali counts 24 restaurants, nine cookbooks, numerous television shows and the 50,000-square-foot Eataly marketplace among his ever-expanding empire of deliciousness.

Monday, November 17, 2014

7th Annual Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer & Food Fest Returns to DeVos Place, Nov 20-22

WHAT: 7th Annual Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer & Food Festival

WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 20 (5-10pm) | Friday, Nov. 21 (4pm-10pm) | Saturday, Nov. 22 (Noon-10pm)

WHERE: DeVos Place, Downtown Grand Rapids. With over 80,000 square feet (nearly 2 acres) inside the elegant Steelcase Ballroom, portions of the Grand Gallery, Riverfront Overlook and the 3rd floor.

COST: $15 – Thursday (and advanced ticket sales for Friday & Saturday); $20 – Friday & Saturday.

3-Day Pass – At $40, this option allows admission each day of the Festival and is intended for those who want to get the most out of their tasting experience. Online sales end Thursday, Nov. 20 at 5pm (Box Office sales for the pass end at 10pm on Thursday, Nov. 20).

All food and beverage samples require varied amounts of sampling tickets of 50-cent denominations (sold at the Festival). We suggest guests start with at least $20 worth of tasting tickets.

WHO: This cultural event draws more than 17,000 public and trade attendees and is the largest culinary celebration in the state (and one of the premiere festivals of its kind in the Midwest). Catering to both the connoisseur who appreciates the finest things in life to the novice looking for an introduction to the culinary world, this festival delivers a grand experience that is sure to please every palette and kick off the holiday season.

NEW: RendezBREW – This rebranded expanded Coffee, Cordials and Dessert Café will be open in the Grand Gallery for the duration of the Festival. Start your Festival experience, or make it a nightcap, with unique pairings of coffee, lattes and cocktails crafted for your enjoyment with a variety of cordials, indulgent sweets and other treats.

NEW: Mobile App – Available in both the Android and Apple systems, this free app allows guests to peruse beverage lists (including notes, ratings and personalized lists), workshops/seminars, restaurant menus and also purchase admission and Pairing tickets. Download it now and plan your visit, as well as use it to navigate the Festival.

INFO: Over one hundred wineries from around the world provide samples of as many as 1200 assorted wines – including some hard to find, top shelf vintages. Also find many award-winning Michigan wines for tasting.

An increased number of distilleries, including many from Michigan, will also be showcased.

The 3rd floor Brewer’s Loft returns, showcasing beer from around Michigan, as well as national labels and imports providing tastes of their hand-crafted beverages – along with food pairings and entertainment.

The Cider House features cideries from throughout Michigan, as well as many nationally-known brands, in the Welsh Lobby on the south end of the Steelcase Ballroom.

Take part in two special seatings (7pm Friday and Saturday) where Grower’s selections from the Champagne region of France are paired with selected cheeses, charcuterie and other small bites. Cost is $40 per person and space is limited. Reservations may be made online, or on site – space permitting.

Select restaurants partner with distinguished wineries and breweries for special Pairings – gourmet multi-course meals served on-site in a casual yet intimate “bar top” setting. Tickets are $35-$45 each and may be purchased in advance online or at the Festival on a first-come, first-served basis.

Additionally, chefs from the more than a dozen of the area’s top restaurants prepare and serve small plates of their culinary specialties.

Esteemed individuals from the culinary world host demonstrations on the Meijer Food Stage. Free beverage seminars, held classroom-style in the rooms off the Grand Gallery and near the 3rd floor Brewer’s Loft, give attendees an in-depth look into the world of wine, beer and spirits. Food workshops are also offered for a unique hands-on experience.

Shop the Riverfront Market for gourmet food, specialty items, wine accessories and holiday gifts including chocolates, pastas, cheeses, oils, olives, sauces, mixes, dips and more. Cash and carry or order for easy delivery.

Culinary and hospitality students from Ferris State University, the Culinary Institute of Michigan at Baker College in Muskegon, the Secchia Institute of Culinary Education at Grand Rapids Community College and Grand Valley State University work alongside industry leaders for a premier educational experience.

INFO: | | @GRWineFestival (#GRWineFest14)

*Attendance at this festival is for those 21 years of age and older. ID is required for admittance.*

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Homestead Welcomes Rick Rhynard – Senior Manager of Property Management

Rich Rhynard has been hired as The Homestead’s Senior Manager of Property Management, a result of the reorganization of the resort’s management structure designed to place ever-increasing emphasis on service quality and guest satisfaction. Rick previously served as a Senior Manager at the resort, from 2008 to 2011.

“I am really looking forward to this new role at The Homestead. It feels great to be ‘back home’ again here,” says Rick. “The challenge and excitement of learning a new part of the property, working with a great team, and getting to serve and know our owners and guest here are just several of the reasons that brought me back. I hope to continually improve the enjoyment of our owners and guest as they enjoy their time here at The Homestead.”

As Senior Manager of Property Management, Rick will be responsible for grounds, utilities, snowmaking/lifts and mechanics. We also provide some property management services to some of the associations on property and really hope under his direction that we can expand that segment of our business.

“We are very fortunate to have Rick return to The Homestead and oversee our Property Management operation,” says Adriene Kokowicz, Vice President of Resort Operations. “His experience is valuable as we continue to grow this segment of our business with an objective of providing top quality service and facilities to our guests and owners.”

After leaving The Homestead in 2011, Rick went on to serve as a Sales Manager at The Hilton Downtown in Fort Wayne, IN and also worked in pharmaceutical and medical sales. He has been a Board Member and Secretary for The Inn Association, is a member of the Fort Wayne Rotary Club and Ritz Carlton Customer Service Training. Rick earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management from Huntington University in Indiana.

The Homestead is Northern Michigan’s largest waterfront resort community located in the heart of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, an area voted by viewers of ABC’s Good Morning America as the “Most Beautiful Place in America”. Along with its unmatched natural setting and miles of frontage on Lake Michigan and the Crystal River, the resort offers guest pools, tennis and golf in the summer; downhill and cross country skiing in the winter; and shops, restaurants, meeting centers and the luxurious new Spa Amira throughout all four seasons.

For more information, visit or call 231.334.5100. “Like” The Homestead on Facebook: and follow on Twitter at @TheHomesteadMI.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Grand Traverse Distillery Brings Artisan Spirits to the Grand Rapids Downtown Market

Grand Rapids Downtown Market, a destination for local food innovation, education and experimentation, today announced Grand Traverse Distillery, maker of craft spirits including vodka, gin, rum, whiskey and bourbon, will open a tasting room at the Downtown Market.

Founded by Kent Rabish in 2007, Grand Traverse Distillery is based in Traverse City, and is the largest micro-distillery in Michigan. In his commitment to using local ingredients, Rabish uses corn, wheat and rye grown at Send Brothers Farm, just nine miles northeast of the distillery’s production facilities.

“Grand Traverse Distilleries is among the very few using the ‘grain-to-bottle’ method, which means we start with fresh, local rye, corn and wheat, and combined it with pure glacial water to create our artisan spirits,” said Rabish. “Single batch, handmade, one-at-a-time is how we bring our spirits to market, and we are excited to be the first local distiller to open a tasting room in Grand Rapids.”

The Grand Traverse Distillery Tasting Room at the Downtown Market will feature spirits to taste and buy by the bottle. The tasting room will also offer local products and mixers that best complement their spirits, such as syrups, peanuts and pickles, as well as clothing, glassware and barrels for those who want to age their own spirits.

“While artisan spirits are growing rapidly, Grand Traverse Distillery is committed to the re-emerging art of craft distillation, and we are thrilled to add an incredibly popular, ultra-premium Michigan brand to the Downtown Market,” said Mimi Fritz, president and CEO of the Downtown Market. “They are a perfect addition to our space and mission.”

Grand Traverse Distillery will continue to make all of its products at its Traverse City facility. The spirits also are available at tasting rooms in Leland, on Traverse City’s Front Street and in Frankenmuth, with another tasting room coming soon at Black Star Farms.

Construction on the space will begin this month, and the tasting room will open in December.

About the Grand Rapids Downtown Market
The Grand Rapids Downtown Market is the region’s new choice for fresh, delicious foods and amazing public market merchants. The Market is a LEED Gold-certified, $30 million, self-sustaining, mixed-use facility that brings together production, distribution, marketing and education about local foods and growing. It incorporates entrepreneur and experimentation space for both emerging and experienced food artisans and merchants including a 24-vendor Market Hall and large outdoor farmer’s market. More at

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Homestead Announces Administrative Reorganization; James Kuras Named VP

The Homestead is pleased to announce the appointment of James Kuras to the position of Vice President with responsibility for food and beverage, outdoor recreation, and health and wellness offerings. Kuras, who has been working at the resort since he was fourteen, holds a BA from the University of Notre Dame, where he is currently pursuing an executive MBA.

His promotion is a part of a reorganization of the resort’s management structure that is designed to place ever-increasing emphasis on service quality and guest satisfaction. “As any parent would be my wife and I are pleased to see our son advance. His youthful energy and relentless focus on service will nicely complement the decades of experience our other officers have” said the President of the resort, Bob Kuras.

“James has proven himself in nearly fifteen years of work in different parts of our business,” said Jamie Jewell, Vice President of Sales, “everyone here is delighted that he will carry forward the values that have driven our business – family and nature – long into the future.

The Homestead is Northern Michigan’s largest waterfront resort community located in the heart of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, an area voted by viewers of ABC’s Good Morning America as the “Most Beautiful Place in America”. Along with its unmatched natural setting and miles of frontage on Lake Michigan and the Crystal River, the resort offers guest pools, tennis and golf in the summer; downhill and cross country skiing in the winter; and shops, restaurants, meeting centers and the luxurious new Spa Amira throughout all four seasons.

For more information, visit or call 231.334.5100. “Like” The Homestead on Facebook: and follow on Twitter at @TheHomesteadMI.