Kentwood, Michigan’s Broad Leaf Brewery and Spirits, is embarking on a strategic transformation of its vacant production space. The brewery recently closed its doors temporarily to repurpose the approximately 4,000-square-foot warehouse area into an indoor pickleball court.
This innovative move aligns with the evolving dynamics of the craft beer industry and the brewery’s adjusted distribution strategy.
Originally procured for its substantial storage capacity, the former Klingman’s Furniture warehouse covers over 25,000 square feet, accommodating brewing facilities, storage, a retail space, and a 99-seat taproom.
However, shifts in the craft beer landscape prompted a reevaluation of the optimal utilization of this surplus space. As owner Kris Spaulding explained to Abby Poirier of Crain’s Grand Rapid’s Business, “When we purchased that property, everything was in a different time for our industry. So we were in the idea that we were going to grow some more, and we had been renting warehouses, and it just made sense to have our own space.
“Now, as things have changed in the industry, through craft beer maturing and then the impact of the pandemic on how much people are drinking beer and going out, we just don’t need as much warehouse space.”
She also talked about the rationale behind the pickleball court concept: “There’s this growing trend of pickleball places that also offer a bar and food.”
The brewery, already equipped with a restaurant and bar, seized the opportunity to embrace this trend. The plan involves incorporating two interior courts, capitalizing on the nationwide surge in pickleball’s popularity.
Brewery Vivant and Broadleaf Brewery & Spirits of Kentwood recently released its annual sustainability report.https://t.co/EysdZdhZC7— Crain’s Grand Rapids Business (@CrainsGR) March 19, 2022
Spaulding highlighted pickleball’s accessibility and the potential for both casual and competitive engagement. The brewery’s proximity to other sports-oriented recreation centers positions it strategically for this sports-centric addition.
A Menu To Attract Pickleballers
Apart from the physical transformation, Broad Leaf aims to enhance its menu to cater to pickleball enthusiasts. Chef Lee DeHaan is considering menu adjustments, including more vegan options and lower alcohol by volume (ABV) drink offerings.
Spaulding anticipates that the new pickleball court will not only excite existing patrons but also attract a fresh customer base inclined towards athletic pastimes.
The brewery is known for its vibrant schedule of events, ranging from book clubs to trivia nights, and sees these initiatives as an avenue to engage with customers directly.
While distribution remains a crucial aspect of the brand’s strategy, these on-site events provide an opportunity to deliver a comprehensive brand experience.
Soft Opening In December
To manage costs effectively, Broad Leaf is undertaking its interior renovations, relocating production equipment, modifying cooler structures, and ensuring the court space meets the required standards.
The brewery plans a soft opening for the pickleball court on December 1, with a grand opening scheduled for early January.
This innovative venture reflects Broad Leaf’s adaptability in responding to industry shifts while enhancing its customer experience.
The brewery is situated at 2885 Lake Eastbrook Blvd. SE, Kentwood, MI.
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