Since opening their first location in 2008, HopCat has run its business around the simple mission of delivering great food, great beer, and great music to the people. With plans to double their locations from six to twelve in 2016, they are working on bringing craft beer to an even larger market.
Seeking to fill a void of craft beer options in Grand Rapids, beer lover Mark Sellers founded as a place where friends could hang out and enjoy new local brews, as well as options from around the country and around the world. Now part of the BarFly Ventures family, alongside Stella’s Lounge, McFadden’s, and Grand Rapids Brewing Company, HopCat is now one of the staples in the burgeoning craft beer scene of Grand Rapids.
HopCat’s success in Grand Rapids caused for quick expansion throughout the rest of Michigan and even beyond the state boundaries. In 2013, HopCat decided to expand their brand and open a second location in East Lansing. The bar, adjacent to Michigan State University campus, offered a staggering 100 craft beers on draft as well as free “crack fries”. New locations soon followed in Detroit, Indianapolis, Madison, Ann Arbor, and Lexington. Now, a $25 million deal with a Texas-based lender will help HopCat finance 30 new locations over the next several years, starting with the recently announced upcoming location in Lincoln, NE.
Chris Knape, VP of Marketing and Communications, also known around the company as Mr. Propaganda, is extremely excited about the opportunity to expand HopCat further. “We wanted to see if the concept had legs [and] it was successful so we decided to expand.” While expansion on this sort of level can provide some challenges for a brand of any kind, Knape is sure that all of the HopCat locations, new and old, will stay true to their craft beer core.