Jeremey Sprague won't give up. Particularly on something that has required a sizeable investment of time, money and heart.
So come early summer, Sprague plans to start serving up the signature and creative brews that placed him squarely in the mix of the craft beer boom in Greater Lansing. And if all goes well, Sprague will reopen and operate the microbrewery Sleepwalker Spirits and Ale
out of 1101 S. Washington St. in REO Town.
"When it comes to Sleepwalker, I don't want to let it go," says Sprague. "I believe Sleepwalker is a very special place and business, and we have some products that have been well-received."
Sprague is determined to move forward, take chances and launch a sit-down microbrewery he first envisioned with a business partner about eight years ago. Sleepwalker opened its first home in a space incubator space in the Allen Market Place
on Lansing's East Side 2014. The plan was always to expand, but when co-founder Matt Jason decided to opt out of the business in August, Sprague began exploring other options.
Timing was everything, Sprague said, and when the property in REO Town became a possibility, he jumped. The building, once home to a dental school, had been vacant for about three years before Ryan Wert, executive director of the REO Town Commercial Association
, decided to invest. Sprague will lease the building form Wert and in the process, complement some of the interior's original industrial features like exposed brick and hardwood floors with a European aesthetic.
"I was born and raised in Lansing and East Lansing so I want to reflect some of our manufacturing roots," he says. "But we want to add a few European touches so it's not too cement and industrial."
Sprague has his sights set on a June or July opening. The 1,500-square foot space will accommodate about 50 to 55 people, and will create six to seven jobs. The ideal, he says, is to have 14 beers on tap, but he may start with a rotation of seven or eight—all brewed on site with a 2.5-barrel system. Specialty cheeses, meats, pizza and sandwiches will be available through a small deli—either to enjoy in-house or to go.
As a fourth generation musician and performer
, Sprague says he has had the benefit of traveling and seeing what works and what doesn't as far as food and beverage places. He hopes to apply some of those insights to his venture, and to leverage his experience to produce killer product for his customers and community.
"I've been writing beer recipes and sharing them with people for a while now," he says. "It's the same kind of feeling you get when you make someone happy with music that you get when you make people happy by serving great food and beer."
Source: Jeremy Sprague, Owner, Sleepwalker Spirits and Ale
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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