Map highlights how GRCC brewers help Grand Rapids earn its Beer City USA title

Everyone knows about the region’s reputation as Beer City USA, but did you know about the Grand Rapids Community College connection?

Graduates from GRCC's Craft Brewing program are helping Grand Rapids earn its Beer City USA title. 

The GRCC Foundation's alumni relations team created a map of local craft breweries owned or operated by GRCC alums. 

There, you’ll learn that Sean Syfert, production brewer at Big Lake Brewing, is an alum of the program, part of its second cohort.

Support fellow alumni

If you want to know more, you can see check out GRCC’s guide to alumni-owned or -operated craft breweries.

From Perrin Brewing Co. in Comstock Park to Trail Point Brewing in Allendale, GRCC alumni have created unique beers and distinctive settings for them to be enjoyed. You can check out the map, with links, online here.

“We know how much our alumni love to support their fellow alumni,” says Jenna VandeKamp, development manager for Alumni Relations and Annual Giving. “This is an especially fun way they can do that.”

The GRCC Foundation's alumni relations team created a map of local craft breweries owned or operated by GRCC alums.

The map includes Fountain Hill Brewery, located in GRCC’s Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center and operated by instructors and students in the Craft Brewing program. Opened in 2016, it was the first federally and state-licensed, revenue-generating brewery operated by a college.

Key to success

Program alumnus Eric Plata, head brewer for Perrin Brewing, says the GRCC offering is key to West Michigan’s current and future craft brewing success.

“I think education’s a vital part of brewing in our industry and where we’re headed as an industry,” he says.

Miguel Munoz, a student in the first Craft Brewing cohort, describes the program as thorough.

“We learned how to clean kegs; we learned how to turn tanks; we learned how to brew; we learned how to make a hop schedule; we learned how to figure out our efficiencies,” says Munoz, now a brewer at Mitten Brewing Co. “We learned how to do anything and everything that more or less is required in a small brewery.”

Alumni who own or work at a brewery not listed on the map can contact VandeKamp at [email protected] or 616-234-3025.

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