“Why Greenbush?” they ask.
“Well, you see, Scott and Justin are from Harbert, MI. Yes, that Harbert, just a few short miles away from the brewery. And before Harbert was Harbert, it was a whistle stop, called Greenbush.”
This is an interaction that takes place between any one of the Greenbush staff and a new customer in the taproom. Generally speaking, once said customer has had a few sips of the delightful brew they are starting with, this question comes up, and we are all somewhat trained to lead with this answer.
It’s easy for most of the staff. Scott, Joe, Carlos, Justin…all from the area. Jen, our newest addition to the full-time staff is also a direct native. Some have fled the area for different adventures along the way, and some are starting out their grand adventure right here at Greenbush. Discussing the reinvention of the area comes naturally to them, and they remember when Corvette Central was actually IN our building, and when the Stray Dog was Nick’s. (Or something like that.) But me? I might as well be from the other side of the planet.
I’m from New York. From a small town, Saugerties, that is similar to the Harbor Country area in so many ways. But often, when people hear NY, they automatically think “bright lights, big city” or “the big apple.” (That or Buffalo, which often creeps up in people’s machinations of what New York living outside the city must be like.) But I grew up in a small town 90 minutes north of NYC, at one point the boom of the IBM domination, slightly worse for the wear by the time I moved there. Now the town is having an agro-tourism resurgence, much like our area, and that’s just the tip of the similarity iceberg. It’s home, for all intents and purposes. Where I generally spend Thanksgiving Eve, where I went to high school, where skeletons I’ll never mention are much more out of the closet than in. I’ve moved around a bit since then, to Manhattan (the actual big city) and then Chicago, before getting swept off my feet by a musician/furniture genius and deciding to move to Michigan. (That’s a story for a much different blog post.)
Here, in our little corner of Southwest Michigan, I’ve found a second home. Sure, it took a while to get used to the lack of Asian takeout and invasions of ladybugs. But with those things came fresh-picked blueberries and apples for days. Living in this area led me to craft beer and then, Greenbush; a path I can’t imagine having followed living anywhere else. Here I can call a neighbor and ask for a snow plow, or I can feel free to pick wild raspberries from a coworkers yard. I’ve become a cook, a part-time-some-kind-of gardener, a cat lover and a great wife.
I’ve become The Ambassador, and that’s more than this big city girl ever really imagined.