- people on the move
German brewery opens doors
A German-themed brewery with German-style brews is open for business.
Kitzingen Brewery in Wyoming hosts its grand opening today from 2-10 p.m., at 1760 44th St. SW.
The brewery is named after the German city of Kitzingen, where owner Rommie Bailey, 54, was stationed with the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry Division from 1985 to 1987.
There, he fell in love with the hefeweizen beers and hopes to eventually bring the true style to Grand Rapids. Until that’s perfected, he’ll work with other German styles to provide West Michigan beer lovers another option and veterans a place to call their own.
Bailey wants to evoke a warm, inviting feeling within his taproom, which is adorned with a variety of German decorations and pictures of the U.S. military in Germany.
“I wanted to do something for the military with a German theme,” Bailey said. “I also want the younger generations to understand the purpose we served in Germany and the good times we had.”
Student of brewing
Bailey had been homebrewing for a few years, trying to learn how to make his beloved hefeweizen.
He’s a self-taught brewing-science nut, who took nearly six months off of work, studying books on the science of brewing.
Bailey and his wife, Linda, are phasing out of their mortgage business and into this pseudo-retirement project.
“This is my mid-life crisis,” he joked. “I want to go out with a bang, doing something I love. I’m really fortunate I can do this, and I’ll do it until I retire.”
Bailey started toying with the idea of opening a brewery in December 2014.
He knew the owners of the Wyoming shopping center he’s now located in and signed a lease in March.
His only real hold up was at the TTB, which licenses breweries at the federal level.
The brewing will be done on a 5-barrel system from Greenville’s PsychoBrew, with three fermenters. The self-financed Bailey hopes to add four fermenters in the future, as he looks to lagering beers, which takes much longer than the ales he’s currently producing.
He said he expects to be hands on in the brewing process until he retires, which is when he may hand over management or completely sell the brewery.
“I’m hands on all the time,” he said. “I’m a perfectionist. I demand the best for myself. But I enjoy it.”