Detroit Free Press photo of the HopCat Bar sign in downtown Grand Rapids.
GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - Grand Rapids' reputation as a center for craft beer is getting a big boost from the website RateBeer.com.
The website says HopCat on Ionia Avenue is America's number one brew pub, and Siciliano's Market on Lake Michigan Drive is the country's best beer market.
"I had already drawn that conclusion about Sicilano's," says customer Trent Reinke. "I've never seen any place else in the Midwest where there is such a variety of beers."
Directors of RateBeer.com say the ratings are based on 250,000 reviewers around the world.
"To have these kinds of accolades -- two in one town -- is saying a lot about Grand Rapids and what you can find there," says RateBeer.com director Joe Tucker.
Tucker says Grand Rapids was already known as a craft beer hub.
Founder's Brewery on Grandville Avenue is one of America's top five breweries. Grand Rapids shares the 2012 "Beer City" title with Asheville, North Carolina.
"We are seeing the growth of craft beer all over," Tucker says.
"It doesn't really surprise me this has caught on," says Siciliano's customer Bailey Hanrahan. "People like to try different beers, different flavors and there are a lot to try."
Siciliano's is part of the craft brewing vanguard. There were no brew pubs in Grand Rapids when the store opened 20 years ago.
"They could not have been anywhere near as successful as they have been if it were not for places like Siciliano's," says store manager Doug Dorda. "Laying the groundwork and building the community. What we do is help people foster an appreciation for fermented arts. It's stuff we love and we like to share that love with everybody else."