MittenBrew covers all aspects of Michigan craft beverages, but there’s often a market that gets neglected – the unique and handcrafted industries that have grown up alongside the booming brewing industry. Companies like Beer City Metal Works & Construction.
I met Scott Brower and James Lewis (Director of Operations and Director of Design and Fabrication) by chance at a charity event for Hospice of Michigan called Barley, BBQ & Beats. Donating a 100 of their first product, custom-made beer flights for donor gifts, it seems like it was meant to be. Despite the event being a prevalent spirit centric one, Beer City Metal Works & Construction was a hit.
“It was our first time showcasing our product, and it went really well,” said Brower as we sat down to discuss the future of their brand new business. We sat in the office at their fabrication shop, our conversation punctuated by the grinding and cutting of various sheets of metal, sparks occasionally visible from the window. It was fabulous.
Joining Brower and Lewis was Kam Wildfong, the Marketing Director of Beer City Metal Works & Construction. “Basically, we’re three guys who like beer and do construction. But not at the same time, of course,” Lewis laughs. “We all worked together [in another capacity], and Beer City Metal Works & Construction spawned from there.”
The products these gentlemen make day in day out aren’t exactly aesthetically attractive, but necessary for stability of the commercial buildings springing up all over West Michigan. “We wanted to make something a bit more residential, more visually appealing,” says Wildfong, “James’ wife came up with the idea for a beer flight. When Scott [Brower] came on board, we looked at this and said – is there a market for this? Can we sell them?”
Indeed, there is, and not just for the beer drinker at home. Brower came to the operation with distillery and brewery contacts, and worked with some local businesses to create customized flights that work for their particular space, designing them to fit not only the visual appeal of the place but the space limitations all restaurants and breweries deal with.
Though Beer City Metal Works & Construction is just beginning, there are grand plans, and luckily, these three have the capacity to make it happen.
“We’ve always had a strong fascination with the (service) industry, and we wanted to find a way to make our everyday work day into something unique, different, and fitting with our interests. We’re so lucky we have the opportunity to do that.” Says Lewis.
With their connections in the construction industry, and the ability to pull all aspects of building, literally from the ground up, Beer City Metal Works & Construction is looking to be the go-to, one stop construction shop for the craft beer and spirits industry. From metal fabrication to woodworking to basically everything besides electrical and plumbing, Beer City Metal Works & Construction wants to build you the brewery or bar of your dreams.
The eventual goal is to be the West Michigan (and hopefully beyond) outfit that gets called if someone is looking to start their craft beer or spirits spot.
“We can do it all,” says Wildfong, “Beyond just project management. There are obviously a lot of skilled contractors out there who can do the work, but we are unique because we can keep the majority of the outfitting internal, without subcontracting a ton of projects.”
“We have design capabilities. We have build capabilities. From signage to custom furniture to your bar top right down to the customized beer flights we started with. We can do it.”
Indeed, these guys have the perfect combination of skill sets to make this happen. Lewis shows off renderings he created for a residential customer, a virtual build out of a real space, all created from a Pinterest board, of all things. Between Brower’s management abilities, Lewis’ artistic sense, and Wildfong’s marketing savvy, they can help you create the bar, brewery, or restaurant you want in a very real, very tangible way. From conception to reality, Beer City Metal Works & Construction wants to make your space, yours – and bring your message (and beer!) to the masses.
Not a bad start from a beer flight.
Want to check out the products Beer City Metal Works & Construction currently has available? Visit them at the Downtown Market in Grand Rapids at the monthly ‘Made in Michigan’ Pop Up MarketPlace on Sunday, July 24th from 10am – 4pm. Snag a sweet beer flight for yourself and tell them MittenBrew sent you.