Walk into the Michigan Pantry store in downtown Holland and you might not see it right away. But take a few steps past colorful displays jam-packed with Michigan-made gifts and you can’t miss it.
Yes, craft beer lovers, it’s a wall dedicated to nearly 30 varieties of Michigan craft beer. By the bottle. Available for mix and match six pack. It’s okay to stare — most customers do the first time they see it.
Each beer features a multi-paragraph description leaving no doubt to what you are buying and what type of food you should pair it with.
And if that wasn’t enough, Michigan Pantry, located at 210 River Ave., also offers unique hard cider offerings, such as the hard-to-find Tandem Ciders and the local gem that is Virtue Cider.
Employee Missi Bastiaanse said the wall of beer began in the summer of 2014, when the store was less than a year old, as way to compliment its Michigan-made theme. She said the store aims for a small, but broad offering, with a special focus on seasonals.
“Why not have a selection of Michigan beer and wine?” she said. “It fits perfectly.”
Owner Robin Nash and Bastiaanse said the store began offering beers they were familiar with from tastings, brewery visits and traveling.
“We started out with what we liked,” Bastiaanse said.
Soon, though, customers asked for specific types of beers and the Michigan Pantry collection evolved. One such beer, Coconut Brown from Blackrocks Brewery, was ordered based on a request.
Nash said anytime they receive feedback, either the owners or someone they trust confirms the quality before it ever hits the shelf at Michigan Pantry.
“We are testing everything,” she said.