Published in Breaking News

HopCat announces Kalamazoo location

BY Wednesday, March 30, 2016 04:43pm

KALAMAZOO — The HopCat chain of craft beer bars continues its rapid expansion.

Grand Rapids-based restaurant operator BarFly Ventures LLC plans to announce today that it will open a location in downtown Kalamazoo, in close proximity to popular craft breweries such as Bell’s Brewery Inc. and Arcadia Brewing Co.

The 7,942-square-foot location will be in the mixed-use Depot Building at 427 E. Michigan Ave., which is currently being renovated, BarFly said in a statement.

“Kalamazoo is one of the best cities in America for craft beer thanks to the legendary Larry Bell (founder of Bell’s Brewery) and the entrepreneurial spirit of the city’s brewing community,” HopCat founder and BarFly Ventures CEO Mark Sellers said in a statement. “Bringing HopCat to the Depot will help further establish downtown Kalamazoo as a Midwest hub for craft beer lovers while creating a unique dining destination for people in the Kalamazoo area.”

BarFly executives say the company will invest about $2 million into its Depot location, slated to open in fall 2016.

The Kalamazoo location will offer 100 craft beer taps and a full food menu.

The Depot building near the intersection of Kalamazoo Avenue and Water Street had served as a train depot. Kalamazoo-based property development and management firm PlazaCorp Realty Advisors Inc. is renovating the site.

The announcement of a HopCat in Kalamazoo comes less than a week after BarFly announced plans to open a location in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood.

The most recent HopCat locations have opened in Lincoln, Neb., Lexington, Ky. and Madison, Wis.

Much of HopCat’s recent growth can be traced to $25 million in mezzanine financing that BarFly raised last September to support the expansion plans.

Sellers previously told MiBiz that the company is not seeking any new capital, but additional raises could be necessary in the next couple of years.

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