A bar where drink prices rise and fall like stocks

LANSING - At the Lansing Beer Exchange, alcohol will be the stock, demand will drive beer prices and patrons will crossing their fingers for a market crash.

"The more people buy, the higher the price goes," said owner James Flora, who opened Kalamazoo Beer Exchange in 2010. "The less demand, the lower the price."

The Lansing location is slated to open this spring in a second-floor space on the northwest corner of Washington Square and Washtenaw Street above Domino's. Lansing Beer Exchange will also have a rooftop bar.

They start doing "stock market" pricing at 6 p.m. and people can track prices via monitors.

A Bell's Oberon will start at $4.50, but can max out at $5 if there is heavy demand, Flora said. The staff can choose when to "crash the market," bringing every beer on the menu to its absolute lowest price for five minutes. That's $2.50 for an Oberon or $1.50 for a Miller High Life,  Flora said.

Flora, 41, of Kalamazoo, developed the idea for the bar when he was travelling in Germany in the early 2000s. It was there he visited a bar that tracked data on the drinks being served. Years later, he expanded upon that idea and brought it to Kalamazoo.

"We've been looking in downtown Lansing for a couple of years now," Flora said. "I get a really cool vibe from the city. I think our concept will work really well there."

Lansing Beer Exchange will be the first bar to open on Washington Square in over a year. Bars haven't fared well in the district, of late. Henry's on the Square closed in May after being open roughly one year. Brannigan Brothers, Eden Rock and Secrets Night Club all closed in 2015.

"The business mix along Washington Square continues to diversify and respond to market demands," Mindy Biladeau, executive director of Downtown Lansing, Inc., wrote in an email.

Flora leased the roughly 7,000-square-foot space above Domino's from Eyde Co. last week. The rooftop bar will occupy about 2,300 square feet and could include a bocce ball court, hot dog cart and fire pit, said Matt Eyde, principal at Eyde Co.

"It's going to be a game-changer," he said. "We've been trying to find an operation that could bring something special to downtown."

Eyde described the restaurant as a gourmet gastro pub.

The menu at the restaurant's Kalamazoo location includes smoked apple bacon pork chops, maple glazed salmon, chicken kabobs and meatloaf.

"We're excited to bring this to Lansing," Flora said.

KING


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