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New in Town: New brewery in REO Town will soothe your psyche

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Modeled after psychologist Sigmund Freud’s office, Sleepwalker Spirits and Ale is adorned with vintage woodwork, chandeliers, books and rorschach tests. According to owner Jeremy Sprague, the motto of the place is “Soothe your psyche.”

“That is a crystal clear message on what it means to be here. We want to give you as a customer that experience of leaving soothed,” Sprague said. 

Sleepwalker started as a microbrewery operating out of the Allen Neighborhood Center from 2014 to 2016. It was fully funded to make the jump to brick and mortar in 2016, but a change in business partnership changed the situation.

Sprague refunded his investors and started from scratch.

“It’s been years and years studying this and I couldn’t let it go,” he said. He began eyeing REO Town shortly after and found a former dentist’s office to suit the space for a small bar and brewery.

Sprague said when he acquired the building it resembled “a white box.” Inspired by old bars in Boston, Sprague set forth to create an experience rather than just another microbrewery.

“We wanted to kick this place into an academic, more refined theme even though we are a microbrewery. We want to feel a little more elevated in terms of decor. It isn’t the usual concrete, steel and living edge wood.” 

Most striking of the redesign is the pair of mushroom taps at the front and center of the bar. Each is capable of holding six beers on tap each. One of the taps is a remnant of the former Sleepwalker space. The other was acquired by chance from a friend.

Another feature of the establishment is a large wooden fixture gateway to the bar. Saved by Sprague from a salvage yard in Grand Rapids, the fixtures go against modern trends of microbreweries having an open space feel, Sprague said.

“Sometimes you have to go in the other direction to find what you want.”

The veteran brewer got his start brewing in 2009. He now knows how to make wine, spirits and hard seltzer.   

“A lot of microbreweries are just trying to get on the shelves at Meijer. I find that neglectful and never going to be sustained,” Sprague said. “We need to find out what our people here want. I’m here for them. I want to get back into the swing to where I can make them happy.” 

Once Sleepwalker hits its stride, it will look into new options for distillery openings, Sprague added. Sleepwalker will also serve shareable dips, pizza and paninis.

“What I do want Sleepwalker to do is attract more people to REO Town and this side of Lansing. With Wheelhouse Studio, Good Truckin’ Diner and The Robin Theatre, we want to highlight more about what is happening here.”

Sleepwalker Spirits and Ale

Opening Oct. 28 – Oct. 31

Monday-Wednesday, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Thursday-Friday, 11 a.m. to midnight 

Saturday, 10 a.m. to Midnight 

Sunday, 10 a.m. to TBD

1101 S. Washington Ave., Lansing

(517) 719-7563 www.drinksleepwalker.com

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