Beer is on its way back to TC's Warehouse District. Pete Kirkwood will open The Workshop Brewery Company in the space vacated last year by Right Brain Brewery and Salon Saloon.
Kirkwood just moved to Traverse City with his young family last summer, but has long family connections to the area. He also has one brewery under his belt: founding the ShawneeCraft Brewing Company in his hometown, Shawnee On Delaware, in Pennsylvania four years ago.
What does he see in TC's scene, craft beer and otherwise? A town that "gets" the connection to food and drink, culture and community – along with a thriving craft beverage scene with plenty of room for more players locally, and in the industry as a whole.
Kirkwood calls the Warehouse District space perfect for what he wants to do, a business model focused on what he's pouring into the glass rather than on distribution. "I don't care about making oceans of beer," he says. "I care about making awesome beer."
He will, however, have more space – converting the former adjacent salon to pub space with a large garage door providing access to the patio during the warm weather months. The interior will reflect a comfortable "craft aesthetic" encouraging conversation, views of the brewing space and friendly brewpub games including darts, foosball and pinball.
The Workshop Brewery Company is targeting an early July opening with plans to have seven "journeyman beers" regularly on tap – including American Blonde Ale, Biere Blanche, Saison and Session IPA – along with seasonal and specialty brews. He is also installing a small kitchen offering a simple, deli-style menu – cold meats, local cheeses, panini sandwiches – food expressly designed to pair with the brews, he adds.