You’ll sometimes hear people describe craft beer as a sort of zeitgeist all its own, coming out of nowhere to upend a century-old domination of the big corporate brewers, rising like punk rock to legendary status by following its own rules, and changing people's expectations for what beer can be in the process.
And a lot of that’s true, though it didn’t happen in a vacuum. Way back in episode 18 with Gary Fish of Deschutes, you hear a much more contextual perspective. Which is to say: craft beer, at least in its current form, is part of something much bigger that’s changing about the way we eat and drink. The slow food movement that has transformed so many of the world’s dining experiences from city to city, bringing things like "farm to table" into our common vernacular. Phrases like "know your farmer," which sounds a lot like "know your brewer." And "locavore," which sounds a lot like "drink local." All these things were setting a stage that craft beer now dances on. It just happens to be a part in the play where beer is stealing the show a bit.
And that brings us to today’s guest, Rick Muschiana. I first met Rick when he was working at Brewery Vivant in Grand Rapids. Back in episode 10, we talked to founders Jason and Kristen Spaulding about their unique community and sustainability-focused brewpub. Rick helped them grow that operation, playing roles in marketing, sales, and operations.
He then went on to lead Michigan sales for Virtue Cider in Fenville, Michigan.
And then he took the plunge into his own concept, focused on a sort of Nordic style of cuisine alongside great beer, wine, and more in a restaurant and garden concept called Sovengard in Grand Rapids. It's there you’ll find the culmination of Rick’s former professional experiences, but also something more fundamental—the influence his parents had on his perspective on food, beverage, and hospitality. They remain an influence to this day.
The result is a place in Grand Rapids unlike any other.