City Built Brews Up Craft Beers and Puerto Rican DishesBy Chucky Blackmore on December 19th, 2016 /
Grand Rapids is known as “Beer City USA” for reasons that extend far beyond beer brewing and drinking. The city itself is home to many innovative breweries and distilleries whose owners live for pleasing the Grand Rapids community. Their establishments bring in patrons from all around the nation to take part in a growing tradition of interacting with others, eating homemade foods, drinking in-house craft beers, and appreciating the rich culture that Grand Rapids is founded upon.
One of the most recent breweries to hit the beer stage is City Built Brewing Company, which is set to open in early 2017. The name draws influence from the relationship between fermentation and civilization—in order for the beer to flow, there needs to be a city of people who demand it.
Edwin Collazo, co-owner and long-time Grand Rapids resident, stated, “Cities grew around the first breweries. We would not have been able to get where we are today had it not been for our city invest[ing] in our ideas.”
Collazo moved to Grand Rapids from Defiance, OH during his freshman year of high school, having attended Tri-Unity Christian. Upon graduating, he pursued education and child development from Cornerstone University, and went on to teach for eight years.
What really propelled Collazo to start his own business was the time he spent working as an advisor for business owners at Northwestern Mutual, a financial service company. His fascination with brewing beer was an added incentive to enter the small business world.
Collazo doesn’t run the show by himself.
California native and beer enthusiast Dave Petroelje combined his love for beer and Michigan with Collazo’s relationship-driven personality. Together the duo look to take the brewery scene to a whole new level.
While traditional beer styles serve as starting point, City Built Brewing Company looks to add a twist to the beers they brew, offering altruistic craft ales and other in-house beers.
“We brew the same way that we like to cook,” said Collazo, “where we get creative with flavors we experience in life.”
Speaking of cooking, City Built will also be introducing Puerto Rican-inspired meals, which build on Collazo’s heritage and love for his community. This addition will allow patrons to taste what Collazo and Petroelje like to eat while drinking beer.
City Built’s mission is heavily focused on providing a sense of community to everyone who walks through the doors and takes a seat and immerses themselves in the experience.
“We are very dedicated to approaching our craft with the idea that we are inclusive,” stated Collazo, “that we engage people in conversation about what it means to be a community-minded servant.”
One way City Built will spread this community mindedness will include offering an ale series that allows investors to come in, take part in the brewing process, name a beer, and pick a charity that some of the proceeds will benefit.
Collazo and Petroelje expect that patrons will come into City Built and spend about $15-20 on two beers and a full meal. To take that good deal to the next level, City Built also has plans for a competitively priced happy hour menu.
The diverse idea behind City Built has been cultivated by Collazo and Petroelje, but the business and financial help they have received from local small business organizations has been invaluable to their growing success.
“We were fortunate to put very good advisors around us,” stated Collazo.
The duo has worked with the Michigan Small Business Development Center through Grand Valley, H&S Companies, and the Brewers Professional Alliance for financial and investment support. In addition, they have also teamed with Andrew Visser and Honor Construction Inc. to establish the business’s location at 820 Monroe Ave NW Suite 155.
City Built is set to open in early 2017. The hours will 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Lifetime memberships are available online at http://citybuiltbrewingcompany.bigcartel.com/. Be sure to visit their website http://www.citybuiltbrewing.com/ and Facebook page for information on when their grand opening will take place.