Great news, beer lovers! Microbrewery coming to Hart

December 11, 2014
The future site of “Big Hart Brewing Company” in the former Schlee Automotive & Sales Service building at 4086 W. Polk Rd. The first microbrewery in Oceana County will open in the spring if all goes as planned.

The future site of “Big Hart Brewing Company” in the former Schlee Automotive & Sales Service building at 4086 W. Polk Rd. The first microbrewery in Oceana County will open in the spring if all goes as planned.

By Allison Scarbrough. OCP Editor.

HART — Dave Hansen, who owns Hansen Foods, just got the official go-ahead from the city to open a microbrewery on Polk Rd.

Right down the road from his popular grocery store, the microbrewery and restaurant named “Big Hart Brewing Company” will open in the former Schlee Automotive & Sales Service building at 4086 W. Polk Rd., just west of West Shore Bank.

If all goes as planned, Hansen will open the first and only microbrewery in Oceana County this spring. He hired a brewer from Ann Arbor who also works at his son Walt’s brewery, Bier Camp, in Ann Arbor. “He will be splitting his time between the two locations,” Hansen said of the expert brewer. “It’s the best beer I’ve ever had,” said Hansen, who is a beer lover himself. “It’s mother’s milk…with a head.”

He expects to have 12 different craft beers on tap. “We can only sell what we make,” he said.

Hansen, who took over ownership of the grocery store from family members in 2009, has made major improvements to the store by adding a huge beer and wine selection and increasing gourmet food choices.

“No one has done it — no one stepped up to the plate, so I decided to do it,” he said. The savvy businessman said he anticipates that his new business venture will benefit surrounding businesses and the community. “A microbrewery brings in a whole lot of people to town,” he said. “It draws people in a positive direction. We’ll see where it takes us and go from there.” With the growing popularity of microbreweries and craft beers, Hansen is sitting on a gold mine.

The microbrewery and restaurant will seat 150 people, he said, and it should create about 15 new jobs. He plans to make “minimal” renovations to the building and to offer a “local theme.” The menu will offer American cuisine, he said.

The only legal hurdle he had to clear was getting city approval, which he said was basically “cleaning up the zoning language.”

Hart City Manager Stan Rickard shared a public notice in regard to zoning, which reads:

“Hart City Council adopted Ordinance 2014-03 on December 9, 2014 amending the Hart zoning ordinance to define a microbrewery and to allow a restaurant with microbrewery in the B-2 commercial zoning district; and approving other language correcting a transcription error in B-2 zoning language. The complete ordinance is available at Hart City Hall, 407 State Street, Hart, MI  49420 or call 231-873-2488.”

Once the doors open, the brews will be flowing. “I’m just really, really happy,” Hansen said.

 

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