Sip Shine tasting room taking shape

Moonshine maker readies former Harmony Hall for Nashville nights
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An artist's rendering of the second floor of Sip Shine Moonshine, a Nashville style tasting room and music venue coming to Bridge Street. WLP Associates courtesy art.

Sip Shine Moonshine, a national brand founded and headquartered in greater Grand Rapids, has quickly made its mark on the spirits scene since its inception in 2019. Inspired by a trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Jenison native Kyle Search fell in love with the concept of a moonshine brand and set about distilling his own.

Drawing on the flavors and spirit of the South and powered by the momentum of the revival of the beverage, Sip Shine has crafted a unique line of moonshines and infused them with some unlikely, yet surprisingly delectable flavors like raspberry and watermelon, capturing the essence of the Great Lakes region. The beverage, currently on store shelves at major retailers in more than half of the states in the country, is distilled right here, using local Michigan corn.

But this isn’t your grand pappy’s moonshine. The beverage known for its robust ABV (180 proof!) has been refined to a palatable 40 proof, all while maintaining its distinctive flavor profile, and will be perfect for pairing with what the brand has planned: a three- story Nashville-style tasting room, live music venue and barbecue restaurant all rolled into one.

Renovations are underway at the soon-to-be-opened Sip Shine, which is set to open its doors in June (but of course, subject to change). Housed in the space formerly occupied by Harmony Hall, the venue promises to bring a taste of Tennessee to the heart of Michigan.

Putting down sticks at the bustling corner of Stocking and Bridge Streets in a building that once housed a German sausage factory, the team had its work cut out for them. Collaborating with architect Jeff Harwood at WLP, they embarked on a bold endeavor – preserving the building’s structural integrity and vintage characteristics while infusing it with a honky tonk twist.

“It’s a concept that hadn’t been explored in the north yet,” said Sip Shine Experience Director Dale Kivinen.

The multipurpose space will feature a tasting room on the first floor, where guests waiting to be seated can indulge in samples and browse merchandise. Upstairs, a restaurant helmed by Chef Darin Ball will serve up mouthwatering ribs, brisket, and more meat smoked on-site in a 500-pound smoker.

The moonshine maker has also teamed up with media outlets and music artists to bring live music to a stage they say is high enough quality for professional tours. With an on-staff audio engineer, the venue promises an unparalleled live music experience.

A video wall will showcase live performances, while a rooftop deck provides stunning views of downtown Grand Rapids. The old space, which has been dormant since Harmony closed their doors in 2022 is being meticulously converted to meet all ADA requirements and is poised to become one of the hottest hubs of activity around.

With plans to open several more locations across the country in the next five years, Sip Shine looks well positioned to continue its ascent in the world of spirits and interesting spaces. Yee-haw!

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