Graduation season is coming early for two small business owners.
After nearly a year and a half of brewing from the incubator kitchen of the Allen Market Place, Sleepwalker Spirits and Ale
is getting ready to move into their own space.
But they won't be going far.
Owners Matt Jason and Jeremy Sprague have begun renovations to the 5,000 square-foot storefront at 1621 E. Kalamazoo St.—a space right around the corner from their current 200-square foot taproom.
"Demolition is finishing up and we're excited about getting in there," says Jason. "We're working on some general plans right now, and connecting with some equipment manufacturers, too."
The microbrewery and distillery is slated to open sometime this summer. The facility footprint will feature space for a 7- to 10-barrel system, plus a 1,700-square foot pub area that seats 60 people. For now, customers can still get beer through the tap room in the Allen Market Place.
While Jason originally envisioned an interior space with an industrial feel, he and Sprague are opting for something cozy and filled with thought-provoking or meditative art. And since both are into history, nature and geological history, the space will convey a Michigan theme—even something prehistoric.
"We want it to reflect our motto of 'dream-play,'" says Jason. "That's basically the translation of 'sleepwalker' in Japanese. We want our space to have a surreal aspect."
Sleepwalker Spirts and Ale will serve up specialty brews, some with local hops or with beans from Lansing-based coffee roasters like Bloom Coffee Roasters
, Rustbelt Roastery
and Craft and Mason Roasting Company
. The duo is also looking ahead to distill different varieties of whiskey and spirits using Michigan hardwoods.
"We both love to learn," says Jason. "We're community-minded and always looking for new ideas."
Sleepwalker will employ about a half-dozen staff. The microbrewery and distillery is community-owned and operated, and continually welcomes new investors to the current group of about 50.
Source: Matt Jason, Co-owner, Sleepwalker Spirits and Ale
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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