by Dennis Dalman
If any business can be considered “too successful,” it’s Bad Habit Brewing in St. Joseph – so sudsily successful, in fact, that it had to find a new location.
That new place is at 25 College Ave. N., just a stone’s throw from its current location at 15 Minnesota St. E. Bad Habit fans – they are legion – are excited about the new place, which will open for business Saturday, May 4. The Bad Habit Facebook site has been abuzz for weeks with the excitement, including an oft-repeated question, “When’s it going to open? When’s it going to open?”
Owner and founder Aaron Rieland had planned an earlier opening date, but the federal government shutdown in late December and January caused a delay. That is because in order to open, Rieland needed federal approval of an amended notice to open an alcohol-related business in a new location. But now Rieland and his staff are ready to roll out the barrel.
For months, an ambitious total-restoration project has been underway on the inside and outside of what was once a bank and later St. Joseph City Hall and Police Station. That building went up for sale when the new St. Joseph Government Center opened, and Rieland purchased the building.
Crowded, cramped space was always a problem at the old place – the price of its success. The space will be more than twice that of the current location, with seating accommodations for up to 300 customers, including about 150 on a large wrap-around patio in the warmer months. When the patio is finished sometime this June, Bad Habit will host a grand opening.
The idea for Bad Habit Brewing began in 2013 when Rieland, family, friends and other craft-beer enthusiasts began to look for a place to open a local business. They eventually decided to try their venture in downtown St. Joseph. At first they were all a bit skittish. What if the business fails? Their fears turned out to be happily wrong. After it opened in October 2015, Bad Habit rapidly became a favorite, trending go-to place for people who like to relax with beer, cider, soda and food. Many times it was cram-packed.
The new place is a bold modernistic design – lots of huge windows, old-wood floors, a red-white-black color scheme reflecting the business’s logo. The outside entrance is a bold red visual echo of the cantilevered look of the front of the world-renowned St. John’s Abbey Church in Collegeville. But within the modernistic structure is a rustic, down-home cozy ambience of plank tables and chairs.
Bad Habit Brewery’s signature identity is beer brewed right on the premises. It’s beer that ranges from classic-recipe (such as an English-style pub ale) to over-the-top fun and loopy beer, such as Hip-ster Peanut with Banana. Inspired by Elvis Presley’s love of humble foods, the brew contains peanut butter and bananas.
Another beer is Dark Addiction, flavored with cocoa nibs from Ghana. Among the scores of beers brewed since 2015 are Tropic Like It’s Hot, a beer comprised of passion fruit, mango and pineapple – not to mention malt and hops, the foundation ingredients of most beers.
There has been and will be a constant experimentation with new-fangled craft beers at Bad Habit. That’s one of the attractions of the business – trying something new and always with a whimsical sense of humor.
In the new Bad Habit, there will be a stage for musical performances, a private-event space and – of course – lots of room for the huge stainless-steel brewing/fermenting tanks.
Fourteen beer choices will be “on the menu” when Bad Habit Brewing opens May 4.