*Originally posted on Second Wave Media's On the Ground Battle Creek series. Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU) has awarded a $200,000 financial incentive to Handmap Brewing, a new brewery locating in downtown Battle Creek.
The new brewery will be located on the first floor of a three-story building at 15 Carlyle Street known as the Record Box. The 19,000-square-foot building is undergoing an extensive renovation which will result in a mixed-use facility that will maintain the historic character of the structure. The building is owned by Cody and Caitlynn Newman, who are leading the redevelopment efforts through their company, Restore (269).
Handmap Brewing co-founders, Chris McCleary and Jennifer Brown, both natives of Battle Creek, are relocating from Chicago to run the business and say they are excited about the opportunity to share their expertise and passion for craft beer.
“We are looking forward to coming home to open Handmap Brewing, catching up with old friends and making many new ones and are excited to be part of the great things happening in Battle Creek,” Brown says. “Our intent is to create an atmosphere where everyone feels welcome, from the craft beer enthusiast to people who have never been to a brewery.”
McCleary, Handmap’s Head Brewer, has been brewing for well over a decade and spent the last three years as a brewer with Chicago-based Goose Island Beer Company. Brown brings decades of business and financial experience from multiple Chicago-based companies to Handmap Brewing.
Handmap’s plans for Battle Creek include onsite brewing with a rotating selection of craft brews, along with lite food options in an inviting atmosphere and venue true to the craft brewing spirit. Construction of the facility is currently underway, and a grand opening is slated for fall 2019. Handmap Brewing expects to employ nearly a dozen employees when fully operational.
“The City of Battle Creek is full of history, and Handmap Brewing is proud to be a part of its future,” McCleary says. “We are excited to share our dream, and for Handmap to share the craft beer experience.”
“Handmap Brewing’s decision to locate at the Record Box will build upon the transformative momentum that is currently underway in downtown Battle Creek,” says Joe Sobieralski, President and CEO of BCU. “We are not only excited to watch them grow and thrive in Battle Creek but thrilled to see the downtown momentum continue.”
In December 2017, BCU announced a Request for Proposals in conjunction with a $200,000 incentive for a new brewery/distillery to locate in downtown Battle Creek. In April of 2018, BCU announced that two breweries would be awarded separate incentive packages.
At that time, New Holland Brewing announced its plan to open a brewpub in Battle Creek. Now that Handmap Brewing’s plans are finalized, the company’s announcement commits the second brewery to downtown Battle Creek.
The Record Box building had been vacant for more than 20 years before the Newmans took ownership of it in 2018. Its name is the result of its initial use by the Record Printing and Box Co. which manufactured cereal boxes. The building renovations have an estimated cost of $1.8 million