Craft brew and music communities rally for local brewer, musician after serious accident

Posted at 4:39 PM, Dec 04, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-04 18:31:18-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Between our local craft brewing and music scenes, West Michigan is rallying for one of its own, Alex Atkin.

Atkin, a brewer and ­cellar warden with The Mitten Brewing Company, as well as singer, guitarist and songwriter with the band Rustbell, was seriously hurt in motorcycle accident Monday. On vacation with friends in Guatemala, Atkin was flown back to West Michigan and underwent surgery Thursday, according to his GoFundMe page, Help Alex Atkin.

Just as well known on the stage as he is in the craft brew community, The Mitten Brewing Co. Co-Owner Chris Andrus said Atkin deserves the outpouring of support he’s receiving.

“The response from the brewing community and basically the entire Grand Rapids community has been overwhelming,” said Andrus. “He’s obviously affected the lives of thousands of people, he’s a great guy, super talented guy.”

As of Friday, more than $16,300 has been raised through the Help Alex Atkin GoFundMe page, which loved ones wrote will be used for his living expenses after extensive medical care.

“Certainly we miss him around here: the staff was very beside themselves when they heard about it,” said Andrus. “Everyone’s rallying together to ask what can we do.”

Andrus said Atkin is their esteemed “jack of all trades,” and The Mitten is hosting a fundraiser for him Jan. 7 from when their doors open at 11:30 a.m. until midnight.

“He’s really helped bring our beer and our program to the next level, we couldn’t be more thankful for him, we miss him a lot, and can’t wait until he gets back,” said Andrus.

Atkin’s friends’ band, The Crane Wives, will play at The Mitten Jan. 7 to help raise money between food and drink proceeds, raffle, and a specially crafted namesake brew, said Andrus.

“Either way I plan to make it 'Ale-exander,'” said Andrus. “It certainly leaves you feeling helpless when something like this happens; it’s such a capricious unexpected thing to happen and this is certainly the least we can do.”

Many local breweries and restaurants have reached out to The Mitten to donate baskets and items for the raffle Jan. 7. For more event information see the Alexander Atkin Benefit page on Facebook.