New Holland Brewing marks 20 years with throwback beers

Officials break ground on the Knickerbocker Pub in Grand Rapids on Nov. 11, 2015.

HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — New Holland Brewing Company is celebrating its 20th anniversary by releasing throwback beers from the past two decades.

“It’s kind of surreal, hard to believe. It doesn’t feel like 20 years,” said Brett Vandercamp, co-founder of New Holland Brewing Company, which was established in 1996.

He and Jason Spaulding came up with the idea shortly after graduating from Hope College. Once investors were locked in, Holland’s New Holland Brewing Company was born.

The original goal was to make beer that was unique to West Michigan.

“People weren’t used to drinking the bigger beers, the hoppier beers, the dark beers,” said VanderKamp. “We had to convert a lot of folks back then.”

2008 was a year to remember for New Holland Brewing Company. That’s when whiskey, rum and gin sales began and Ottawa County’s blue laws were repealed.

Ground is broken on the new New Holland Brewing location on Bridge Street NW in Grand Rapids. (Nov. 11, 2015)

“You know we were really kind of the advocates for change for that as well,” said VanderKamp.

Before then, it was illegal to sell beer and wine on Sundays in Ottawa County. It took 12 weeks, over 40,000 signatures and a Secretary of State approval before the law was overturned.

The change boosted tourism and sales, which eventually led to growth for New Holland Brewing Company. In 2016, The Knickerbocker Pub opened at the corner of Bridge Street and Broadway Avenue in Grand Rapids. New Holland Brewing Company has also expanded distribution to at least a dozen states.

New Holland Brewing Company’s throwback beers will be available during its annual Hatter Days Street Party Saturday in Holland, as well as its pubs in Holland and Grand Rapids.