Food Service & Agriculture, Real Estate, and Retail

Beverage retailer opens 28th Street store

April 30, 2014
| By Pat Evans |
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Beverage retailer opens 28th Street store
Rishi’s International Beverage stocks thousands specialty beverages at its store on 28th Street SE in Grand Rapids. Photo via fb.com

A family owned beverage store is stocking its shelves with thousands of beer, wine and spirit choices before its official opening tomorrow on 28th Street.

Rishi’s International Beverage, entering its 15th year in operation, is opening a store in Grand Rapids at the old Hooters restaurant, at 3835 28th Street SE.

The store, which had a soft opening earlier this month, replaces Rishi’s East Paris location. Rishi's also operates another store in Grand Rapids, at 6859 Cascade Rd. SE.

28th Street store

After a renovation of the 7,000-square-foot property, the store will carry about 1,300 beers, 1,400 wines and 1,200 spirits.

Rishi’s will also feature a 1,300-square-foot walk-in "beer cave,” which has four doors, a silent air conditioning system and speakers to “create a refreshing environment.”

Service

Customer service is at the top Rishi’s priorities, and the store’s owner, Rishi Makkar, a native of India, is often at the register of his store in his traditional garb, with a notepad by his side.

Customers are often welcomed by Rishi’s greeting, “Welcome home, it’s so good to see you.”

Makkar is a certified sommelier, or wine expert, and the store offers a program to special order products for customers.

The store, for instance, said if a brewery distributes in the state of Michigan, Makkar “will find it for you.”

Honorary beer

Right Brain Brewery in Traverse City has brewed a beer to honor the store’s opening.

During a visit to see his strongest accounts in Grand Rapids, Right Brain owner Russell Springsteen met with Makkar, a big fan of barleywines. Lacking a high-end barleywine for distribution, Springsteen left with an idea.

Right Brain’s Benevolent Friend was born and is only available at Rishi’s in 22-oz bottles and occasionally at the Right Brain taproom.

Limited releases

Rishi’s has stashed away popular beers for customers to get their hands on.

Limited-release beers such as Founders Brewing Co.’s KBS, Bolt Cutter, Sweet Repute and Smoked Porter, as well as Bell’s Brewery’s Black Note will be available.

Sampling weekend

There will be special tastings all weekend long at Rishi’s, with hors d’oeuvres by Applause Catering.

On Thursday, New Holland Brewing Co. will be pouring samples from 4-6 p.m., and Vander Mill Ciders will pour from 5-8 p.m.

Various sample sessions from Clown Shoes, Fireball Cinnamon Whisky, Vander Mill, Epic Brewing and Camarena Tequila will be held on Friday.

Vander Mill and Camarena Tequila will also be back on Saturday.  

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