These days, most everyone who enjoys good beer knows that Grand Rapids produces some of the country’s finest brews. But did you know that we also craft a wide range of other amazing beverages? In fact, Grand Rapids is America’s Craft Beverage Capital. Here are 10 reasons why:

1. USA Today Says So

USA Today crowned Grand Rapids the Craft Beverage Capital of the U.S. after one of its journalists visited 10 local craft beverage producers. Far be it from us to quibble with the nation’s #1 newspaper!

Grand Rapids, Beer City USA

Dozens of breweries, award-winning beers and the votes of USA Today readers affirm Grand Rapids' top spot for craft beer.

Photo by Experience Grand Rapids

2. We’re America’s Best Beer City

Beer is the king of craft beverages, and Grand Rapids is the ruling seat. USA Today readers voted us America’s Best Beer City in 2023 (for the third consecutive year). The city boasts 40+ breweries within a 30-minute drive and some of the nation’s top-ranked beers. (Have you tried Founders Brewing Company’s  KBS?) More than 22,000 beer-lovers across the country have become Beer City Brewsaders® and earned a free t-shirt by visiting at least eight local breweries. 

3. We Craft a Lot More than Just Beer

World-class spirits. Lip-smacking hard ciders. Unique fruit wines. Hearty meads. There are more than 50 producers of these luscious libations in and around Grand Rapids, many incorporating locally farmed crops for distinctive flavor. You can find their creations in tasting rooms, bars, restaurants and grocery stores across the region.

Good Judy's Market & Juice Bar. Tag @juicyjuicingj when posting on Instagram

West Michigan takes craft beverages seriously--and that includes alcohol-free options.

Photo by Addison Causley for Experience GR

4. We Craft Non-Alcoholic Beverages, Too

There are plenty of local options for an alcohol-free craft experience, from coffee roasters and kombucha brewers to juice bars, soda producers and soft cider makers. We truly do have a craft beverage for every thirst.

5. Our Craft Beverages Win Awards

Founders Brewing Co. and The Mitten Brewing Co. won medals in the 2023 World Beer Cup. Pink Barrel Cellars and New Holland Brewing Company were recognized in the 2023 US Open Beer Championship. Cedar Springs Brewing was awarded a gold medal in the 2023 Best of Craft Beer Awards. Long Road Distillers earned nine medals in the 2023 International Spirits Competition Awards. Farmhaus Cider racked up a whopping 26 medals at the 2023 Great Lakes International Cider & Perry Competition. We’d list more, but we don’t want to sound like we’re bragging.

Brewery Vivant - Outdoor Dining

Whether its inside or outside, Grand Rapids has a spot for you to enjoy your favorite craft beverage.

Photo by Experience Grand Rapids

6. We’ve Got Cool Places to Enjoy a Drink

Kick back at a brewery with an awesome outdoor space. Raise a pint in a renovated funeral home, fire station, truck depot or historic hotel. Enjoy the drinks and ambiance at a fun themed bar or restaurant. Or carry your drink with you as you explore the city – our Downtown Refreshment Area allows you to enjoy an alcoholic beverage as you stroll from one end of the neighborhood to the other. 

Waffle & Mimosa Flight at Nonla Burger

Stop by Nonla Burger on the West Side for their Waffle & Mimosa flight.

Photo by Courtesy of Nonla Burger

7. We Have Great Food to Pair with Great Drinks

Grand Rapids is Michigan’s Best Food City, according to Thrillist ­– and some of our most delicious and creative menus can be found at local breweries. Check out a Locals’ Guide to Breweries with Great Food. Many local restaurants also serve local beverages, and more than a few incorporate them into recipes. Get the Flights of Flavor pass to find the city’s best craft beverage-and-food pairings, as well as beer, wine, cider and spirit flights – and earn prizes for enjoying them!

GR Paddling - Photo taken by Emily Sierra Photography. Emily is a writer who came to Grand Rapids for outdoor recreation, 2018.

Outdoor recreation, live music and art are just a few other craft beverage pairings to try in Grand Rapids.

Photo by Emily Sierra Photography

8. There Are Lots of Other Pairings to Explore

You know what else goes great with a craft beverage? Live concerts – and Grand Rapids is home to more than 100 venues hosting all genres of music. How about a little art with your beer? ArtPrize, the world’s most attended art event, showcases an official beer during each competition. Many of our community festivals incorporate a craft beverage element. (Some of them specifically celebrate craft beverages.) And, of course, nothing’s better than a liquid refreshment after a day in our Grand Outdoors.

Brewery Nyx

From IPAs to lagers to barrel-aged stouts, find gluten-free brews at Brewery Nyx, the first of its kind in Michigan.

Photo by Bryan Esler for Experience GR

9. Our Craft Scene is Diverse

A few highlights: Women have played an integral role in crafting our beverage industry. Black-owned beverage businesses include Bitter End Coffeehouse, Black Calder BrewingGRNoir and the Last Mile Café. Soldadera is a cold-brew coffee company inspired by the owner’s grandmother, who was a social activist in Mexico, and you can find it in Meijer stores here and across the Midwest. Diversity extends to the tap list, with breweries adapting styles and flavors from across the globe, and the city’s first gluten-free brewery, Brewery Nyx, opened in 2022.

10. You Can Peek Behind the Craft Beverage Curtain

A number of local breweries offer tours of their production facilities (with tastings!) so you can see and savor the beer-making process. Independent tour operators offer guided walking and they-do-the-driving tours of multiple breweries or distilleries in a single trip, letting you compare and contrast production methods and beverage styles. Get tour information here.