Couple plans beer and wine tasting room on Wealthy Street

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Speciation Artisan Ales beer glass bar Comstock Park taproom

A couple is planning to open a tasting room for their beer and wine brands in a Grand Rapids neighborhood.

Speciation Artisan Ales and its sister company Native Species Winery plan to move to 928 Wealthy St. SE.

The new tasting room for the nature-inspired brewery and winery would open later in 2020, pending licensing and approvals.

Co-owners and husband-and-wife team Mitch Ermatinger and Whitney Ermatinger said the move from Comstock Park is intended to bring their products closer to their customers.

“We have always looked at Wealthy Street for a potential taproom location because of the area’s strong sense of community and identity,” Mitch Ermatinger said. “We are excited to play a part in the growth of one of the best and most exciting business corridors in the city.”

The 3,000-square-foot building would be split between a taproom and a production site. While the layout is not final, Ermatinger said production at the Wealthy Street location would be small and focused on aging beer barrels.

While there wouldn’t be a kitchen in house, the couple is partnering with a company called 2ndKitchen, which pairs bars and other establishments with nearby restaurants, to have food ordered on site and delivered.

Ermatinger also promised the Wealthy Street taproom would have loads of Speciation merchandise for sale.

Speciation Artisan Ales is branded as a “mixed-culture” brewery, specializing in wild ales and ciders inspired by the variations that can be found in nature.

Native Species Winery extends the same concepts to wine, using foot-crushed grapes and natural fermentation techniques.

Both brands source Michigan-grown ingredients for their products.

Moving Speciation and Native Species to the new location near the intersection of Wealthy and Diamond would enable them to stay on top of industry trends, Ermatinger said.

“The craft beer movement is shifting significantly — away from distribution and toward tasting room and direct sales,” Ermatinger said.

“We would like to stay ahead of the changes in the industry and position ourselves for long-term stability with a wide range of house-made small-batch beverages, including beer, natural wine, wine spritzers, seltzers and cider.”

The plan is for the Comstock Park taproom to close when the new taproom opens, after which it would be used exclusively for production.

“Our current location in Comstock Park served its purpose to get us started, but it’s time to get more of our product directly into people’s hands,” Ermatinger said.

“We believe the best way to do that is to move to a more central location. The many excellent businesses on Wealthy and Cherry street complement each other so well, and we think that we will be a strong asset to that community.”

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