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Perrin Brewing bubbles toward top of market

February 18, 2013
| By Pat Evans |
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Perrin Brewing bubbles toward top of market
The beers of Comstock Park-based Perrin Brewing Company can be found in more than 100 restaurants and bars across West Michigan. Photo via fb.com

Perrin Brewing Company went big, and it will soon be going home — with you.

Since opening in last fall in Comstock Park, Perrin has made waves in the Grand Rapids brewing community. It’s already the second largest in the city behind Founders Brewing Co.

Despite being found in 125 restaurants and bars across West Michigan, Perrin beers have been absent in stores. But before the snow melts, Perrin will be added to the already crowded store shelves.

Perrin Brewing co-founder Jarred Sper said the beers are “sessionable” — meaning a person can drink several in one sitting — and the containers will entice people to try the easy-to-drink craft beers.

The company will begin distributing in bottles, but a flat-top can that requires a church key to open eventually will follow.

Perrin will be only the second brewery in the world to use the cans.

“There is a wall filled with beer. What will make you pick it up?” Sper said. “It’s about having a certain aesthetic that grabs a consumer. Lure them in with cool packaging and back it up with great product. What else do you need?”

Although less enticing to pick up, bottles will help Perrin enter the consumer market with more access to stores.

And while the company will distribute beers that craft beer fans will enjoy, it’ll also release lighter, easy-to-drink beers, such as Perrin Golden Ale, that will help transition macro beer drinkers from the likes of Budweiser and Miller, Sper said.

“There’s a very specific mood, atmosphere, time frame when you want to sit down and drink an 8 or 9-percent beer,” he said. “We hope we can create beers not just for people to feel a certain way, but truly enjoy the tastes, nuances and character of the beer itself and really understand what it takes to make that beer.”

The retail distribution channels have yet to open, but Perrin has made customers happy on-site with its hospitality, Sper said.

Perrin’s hospitality philosophy comes from a professional in New York and states that you should treat every person through the door like they’re a guest in your home.

“If they’re coming in here once or twice and they recognize a face, (the server) should learn their name and engage with them, get to know them, learn their favorite beer, so when they sit, you can bring a beer to them,” Sper said. “When they pay their money, it’s their pledge for our product, so we need to give them the respect.”

Between the easy-drinking beer and the hospitality, Perrin has seen its name and business grow in its first months of operation. The growth spurt wasn’t exactly planned, Sper said.

“It wasn’t a deliberate choice right away. It just happened organically,” Sper said. “It happened that way, because we had seen all the breweries around growing at such an exponential rate, and it took them so much time, effort and resources to rip down and expand.

“So instead of playing that catch-up game, if we’re bringing on world-class brewers, we really believe in our product," he said. "Then why don’t we do our best to enable them to make a good amount of beer for the pub and distribution?”

Each day, visitors might see a suited businessperson and an overalls-clad farmer chatting it up at a full bar, Sper said.

“It’s that type of range. That’s exciting,” he said. “Beer is like music. . . . It’s all-encompassing. It’s all people. If we can continue to focus on that and make good beer, people will continue to come, no matter who they are.”

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