Grand Rapids, Michigan has moved from Furniture City to Beer City USA

The second largest city in Michigan has been given a few nicknames for its attributes showing the changing times. It has been known as Furniture City, River City, and in 2013 gained the recognition of Beer City USA.  In 1876, Grand Rapids was known worldwide for making fine furniture. This label was held in Grand Rapids for about 75 years, dying in the 1960. Today Grand Rapids is still the home to the largest contract office manufacturer in the world. While the furniture makers have vacated the metropolitan area turning old factories into condominiums, the city has taken on new trades that have given Grand Rapids a new brand.

Image courtesy of Furniture City History

With some tough competition USA Today readers awarded Grand Rapids the title of Best Bar Scene.  A voting poll by USA Today said this:  “After four weeks of voting, the results are in! Grand Rapids, Mich. was the clear winner and deserving of the title Best Beer Scene!”.  This newly founded title will help add to the label of Beer City USA. A company named Founders Brewing Co. a world-renowned brewery played an important role in this challenge. The Mitten Brewing Company is located in a re-purposed firehouse offering pizza and a vintage baseball theme. There is a host of micro-brewers established in the city offering diverse tastes in beverages and food. Grand Rapids is the home to fifteen diverse breweries with more in the works that offer alternative craft brews in comfortable environments. If timed right not only can you savor the different varieties of brew but on Saturdays some of these breweries offer tours on how these inventive flavors are created. If you don’t want to get in your car there are also fun alternatives for transportation by catching a ride with the Great Lakes Pub Cruiser or the  GR Hopper Shuttle.

Mitten Brewing Company: Courtesy of

Grand Rapids is getting a lot of recognition through various outlets of news media to which involve the craft beer industry. The city is reforming its image and adding appeal by creating new economic value and a new brand. This is good public relations for the city driving new awareness and business activities to downtown and surrounding areas. This new identity will add a new tax base, employment and an added value to the cities other attractions and events.

Courtesy of

To complement the title of Beer City USA, Grand Rapids offers a host of festivals that offer diverse celebrations of different cultures that reside in this community. Pulaski Days, Hispanic Festival, ArtPrize, and Cool Brews Hot Eats are just a few of the many activities that take place throughout the year. These events complement the new brand creating a business win-win opportunities for all entrepreneurs located in and around Grand Rapids.

Nicknames for cities will come and go. They will be significant to the period of time in which the city has stood out in one way or another. The transfer from Furniture City to Beer City is showing the changing times, or the passing of the torch to a new generation of entrepreneurs. These different titles will bring traffic to the city resulting in more revenue to the merchants and other attractions the city has to offer. As long as a city has a positive title that creates economic value, community leaders should find all methods to endorse it. Won’t Detroit always be the Motor City, Motown, or Hockeytown?  Any nickname that brings a positive draw to a city is welcome in public relations.



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