We were born and raised in South Haven, attended South Haven high school (Go Rams!), and took for granted the beautiful lakeshore town in which we grew up. Our parents, Ray and Linda, own and operate VanDerZee Motorplex in town, which is a Kawasaki/Yamaha powersports dealership (and now neighbor to 3BB). So growing up, my sisters and I were very lucky to spend every Sunday in the summer “water testing” the Jet Skis on Lake Michigan with our friends and family. But despite the small-town charm of South Haven, Megan and I both wanted to move far away to bigger cities after high school – Megan went to CMU, then moved to Phoenix, met Matt (an actual rocket scientist), and obviously married him. I made it as far as Kalamazoo College for school, moved to Grand Rapids to work in accounting, and eventually married a fellow business/finance nerd, Adam (thanks, Match.com). Amanda ventured to WMU for college, then moved next door to our parents’ house in South Haven, and married her high school sweetheart, Joe (who is now the general manager at the Motorplex). Did I mention our parents were also high school sweethearts who grew up in South Haven and moved across the street from their parents after graduating from Western and getting married? They say history repeats itself. Oh, and Amanda and Joe also have three daughters, so they are already raising the next generation of Three Blondes.
Now, how do we go from the above descriptions and backgrounds to opening a brewery? That’s the (two) million-dollar question. First, Megan couldn’t resist the draw of west Michigan for long, so she and Matt moved back from Arizona to start a family. That put me and my sisters in close proximity once again, and family gatherings in SH were frequent. Meanwhile, craft breweries were popping up everywhere, creating cool community gathering places and even revitalizing small neighborhoods and towns. We all wondered with excitement, “when is one going to open in South Haven?”
As we waited, the ideas started brewing (see what I did there?) - what if WE started a brewery in South Haven? The ideas turned to research, research led to possibilities, and possibilities turned into planning. Throw in a lot of savings, a ton of hometown pride and faith in our community, and a little bit of crazy and suddenly Three Blondes Brewing was in motion. We wanted to create a place where family, friends, locals, and tourists could gather to experience exceptional South Haven beer with a unique, locally-based menu, and where parking spots were aplenty.