“Maybe I should take a few bottles over to Grand River Brewery?” This was the question Steve Holda posed to his fiancée Tina Ryan in late spring of 2021. After almost 30 years of brewing beer in the kitchen of his home, Steve had honed his craft. But this latest experiment resulted in the best beer he’d ever made—a cranberry-orange pilsner. Steve shares with a chuckle, “I don’t even like cranberries!”
By day, Steve puts a different form of expertise in motion as the Chief Financial Officer of Starfish Family Services. With a long history of leadership roles, landing at Starfish means Steve can also be part of the mission to strengthen families to create brighter futures for children—something he is very passionate about.
Born and raised in Jackson, Michigan, Steve hoped Grand River Brewery (GRB) might be willing to hear him out on (and even taste!) his cranberry-orange pilsner. So, off he went. He was introduced to GRB’s owner, Justin Dalenberg, and master brewer Wyatt Andrews. After one friendly taste, they could tell that Steve was a true brewing expert—and they agreed that cranberry-orange pilsner was, indeed, something special!
In the beginning, Steve’s biggest wish was to simply have his beer featured on tap and be able to enjoy a pint with his family and friends in his hometown. Yet, that inquisitive trip to the brewery sparked much bigger possibilities after discovering a shared commitment to early childhood education, families, and the community.
By the end of the visit, there was a plan to do a large brew of the cranberry-orange pilsner AND Grand River Brewery kindly offered to donate the profits to Starfish Family Services. How fantastic! In the months that followed Steve, Tina, and his mom, Jeanne Holda, participated on-location with the brewing process and Tina taught the team how to make the cranberry juice. Everyone looked forward to the first pint being poured!
That time came on Sunday, November 21, when Grand River Brewery officially premiered “Cranberry Gothic Pilsner” at their Jackson location. “It just turned into a complete win-win,” shared Steve. “I’m so grateful the folks at Grand River Brewery gave the beer a chance and we’re all honored to support Starfish Family Services!”
Starfish would like to thank Grand River Brewery for their incredible generosity and hospitality. Most important, we share our gratitude with our treasured colleague, Steve, and his family. Starfish is so honored to benefit from this dream come true!
To find out more about Grand River Brewery, including hours and ways to purchase Cranberry Gothic Pilsner, visit: Grand River Brewery.