New owners hope to make St. Clair Shores a ‘brewing destination’

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published December 20, 2018

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — With the recommendation of approval of microbrewer, small winemaker and small distiller licenses from City Council, the newest microbrewery coming to St. Clair Shores is one step closer to approval.

“We’re excited to be downtown. We’ve had this idea for about five years (and have) been pursuing it for a few years in another city,” Ryan Balicki told City Council Dec. 17.

Balicki and two other owners are hoping to bring a microbrewery to the former Vitamin Village space at 23401 Greater Mack Ave., which he said they will call Copper Hop Brewing Company.

Joining Jamex Brewing Co., 21721 Harper Ave., and Baffin Brewing Co., 25113 Jefferson Ave., in the city would make “St. Clair Shores a brewing destination,” he said.

“It’s a little different culture than another bar. We look forward to being involved with all the community ventures that go on ... helping to revive that downtown area,” he said. “It’s a really cool space.”

He told City Council that they were requesting all three licenses, although they plan to focus primarily on brewing beer, because creating cider requires a small wine maker license. Balicki said that one of the other owners has also begun distilling spirits, but they want to perfect them before offering them for consumption in craft cocktails. He said they would also do wine “eventually.”

Councilman John Caron said he was happy to hear that one of the owners has spent a lot of time learning the brewing business before starting the new venture.

“You guys are doing your homework, and (we’re) looking forward to another great addition,” Caron said.

Balicki said he’s hoping to bring some artwork to the exterior of the building and to break out of the strip-mall mold.

“We want to do two garage doors in the front. We figured we’ll get in, we’ll get open, and then we’ll apply to do some kind of exterior work,” he said.

City Council unanimously recommended approval of the licenses to the Michigan Liquor Control Commission.

Balicki spent his early childhood in St. Clair Shores before moving to Florida when he was 6 years old. He said he’s lived in Grosse Pointe Woods since 2001 and thinks that the Nine Mile and Mack area is a “great up-and-coming area.”

St. Clair Shores is “really just the destination on the eastside, and we look to help continue that.”