Blog, Pickleball Court

Kentwood Brewery Taps Into Pickleball Craze, Adds Indoor Court to Taproom

Photo of author

By Jacob Jackson

In a bold move to redefine the brewery experience, Kentwood’s very own Broad Leaf Brewery and Spirits is set to repurpose vacant production space, unveiling plans for an exciting indoor pickleball court alongside an enhanced restaurant offering. This dynamic endeavor marks a significant shift for the brewery, located at 2885 Lake Eastbrook Blvd. SE, as it temporarily closed its doors last week to facilitate the relocation of production equipment, paving the way for a unique venture within its expansive 25,000-square-foot warehouse.

Originally acquired for its substantial storage capacity, the warehouse was a strategic investment at a different time in the craft beer industry. However, as the landscape evolved and Broad Leaf adjusted its distribution strategy, the need for such extensive storage space diminished.

Jamie Foxx’s Pickleball

Kris Spaulding, co-owner of Broad Leaf and an offshoot of the esteemed Brewery Vivant in Grand Rapids, shed light on the evolving rationale behind the transformation: “When we purchased that property, everything was in a different time for our industry. So we were in the idea that we were going to grow some more, and we had been renting warehouses, and it just made sense to have our own space.”

But times change, and so do industry dynamics. Craft beer maturation coupled with the transformative impact of the pandemic led the Broad Leaf team to reassess the utility of their expansive warehouse space. Numerous possibilities were considered, including renting out the space for storage. However, the idea that sparked the most enthusiasm among the team was the conversion of the warehouse into an indoor pickleball court.

See also  Pickleball Serve Tips - To Improve Your Game!

Spaulding highlighted a growing trend in the recreation industry, where pickleball facilities combine sporting activities with food and beverage services. With Broad Leaf already equipped with a restaurant and bar, the decision to integrate a pickleball court seamlessly aligned with the evolving trends in consumer preferences.

The ambitious project aims to incorporate two interior pickleball courts, a strategic move to capitalize on the burgeoning popularity of pickleball nationwide. Originally invented in 1965, the sport has witnessed a remarkable surge in recent years, as indicated by the USA Pickleball Association’s annual growth report. In 2022 alone, 1,557 courts were added across North America, with the association welcoming over 70,000 new members—a staggering 30% increase from the previous year.

“It’s really accessible, but you can also get super competitive if you want. It has a really nice range,” Spaulding remarked, emphasizing the inclusive nature of pickleball, a sport enjoyed by players of all ages.

The brewery’s foray into pickleball is not merely a structural change; it’s a holistic transformation that involves key players within Broad Leaf. Both Spaulding and Broad Leaf’s chef, Lee DeHaan, are avid pickleball enthusiasts. In fact, DeHaan played a pivotal role in connecting the brewery with Dan McConnon, owner of Byron Center’s All In Pickleball Court, for valuable insights on the logistics of launching the facility.

See also  Can You Play Pickleball on a Windy Day?

Moreover, anticipating the discerning palate of the pickleball community, DeHaan is contemplating menu additions that align with the athleisure lifestyle. Spaulding hinted at potential menu expansions, with a focus on more vegan options and lower-alcohol beverages, catering to the preferences of the health-conscious and sporty clientele.

Situated in close proximity to sports-centric recreation centers like MSA Sports Spot, Sky Zone Trampoline Park, and Dave and Busters, Broad Leaf is strategically positioned to cater to a demographic seeking an active and social experience. Spaulding expressed enthusiasm about the community’s response, anticipating not only the excitement of regular patrons but also the attraction of a new customer base inclined towards athletic pastimes.

The pickleball court, set to open its doors on December 1 with a grand opening slated for early January, adds another dimension to Broad Leaf’s already bustling schedule of events. From a monthly book club in collaboration with Schuler Books to craft fairs, trivia nights, and open mic sessions, Broad Leaf has been an active participant in engaging with its community.

See also  How to Practice Pickleball Alone?

Spaulding emphasized the significance of these events in fostering direct interactions with customers. While distribution remains a crucial aspect of the brand, events held at the pub offer a unique opportunity to provide customers with the full Broad Leaf experience, a level of control not easily achievable in the broader market.

Pickleball Played With Three Playrs

In a bid to keep costs manageable, Broad Leaf is undertaking its own interior renovations. This includes the meticulous process of shifting production equipment from the warehouse space to Brewery Vivant’s facilities, removing cooler walls, and regrading floors to ensure the pickleball court is not just level but also equipped to provide proper support for players.

As Broad Leaf Brewery and Spirits ventures into this new chapter of innovation, the transformation from a traditional brewery to a multifaceted destination reflects the adaptability and resilience required to thrive in an ever-evolving industry. The amalgamation of craft beer, pickleball, and a revamped menu speaks to a broader trend in the hospitality sector—embracing change to meet the dynamic preferences of an evolving consumer base. Broad Leaf’s pickleball venture is not just a court; it’s a strategic move to create an immersive and inclusive experience that transcends the traditional boundaries of a brewery, setting a new standard for the intersection of sports, leisure, and culinary exploration.

Can You Play Pickleball With A Torn Meniscus?

Scottie Scheffler: From the Golf Course to the Pickleball Court

Leave a Comment