Downtown brewpub ends production


HopCat in downtown Grand Rapids ranks as one of the top beer bars in both the world and nation. Photo by Adam Bird

A downtown pub no longer will be brewing on-site.

BarFly Ventures announced the famous brewpub HopCat will discontinue brewing at its restaurant, 25 Ionia Ave. SW in Grand Rapids.

Joe Sonheim, BarFly director of marketing, cited two key reasons for the change. While HopCat has brewed its own beer, the majority of in-house brewing has been at BarFly’s Grand Rapids Brewing Company just around the block.

“The beers we did have on tap from HopCat were about 20% of the taps we have online,” Sonheim said.

The change will allow HopCat to focus more on representing craft breweries from West Michigan and around the country, Sonheim added.

BarFly also sees a greater benefit to opening up HopCat’s brew space for additional seating, whether to help deal with overflow or to host private events.

The approximately 200-square-foot brew space currently houses a 3.5-barrel system. The brewing equipment will be auctioned off through New Mill Capital’s Grand Rapids office. The auction is online-only with bidding starting Aug. 20 and ending Aug. 27.

HopCat expects to seat guests at the former brew space by the end of September.

“I’m excited about it, because especially for everyone else who wants to eat out, you don’t want to have a long wait,” Sonheim said. “If there’s a cool show downtown, this will help a ton to cut down on waiting time.”

HopCat in downtown Grand Rapids was the first HopCat opened by BarFly. The bar and restaurant opened in 2008, and the chain has since expanded to 17 locations nationwide.

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