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Comstock Park, Mich. —  Michigan’s food banks are encouraging supporters to raise a glass for hunger relief this September.

hops against hunger The campaign is called Hops Against Hunger, and it unites the state’s breweries and beer geeks with food banks serving those in need. All month, Michigan breweries will be hosting fundraisers to support the work of the state’s seven Feeding America-member food banks. Forty breweries, beer bars and restaurants from metro Detroit to Marquette are taking part.

“September is Hunger Action Month,” said Sean Little, development associate for Feeding America West Michigan, a food bank based in the Grand Rapids area. “Food banks like ours are asking people to volunteer, donate, contact their elected officials and take a whole host of actions to support our cause. We loved the idea of throwing brewery fundraisers into the mix and hopefully reaching a lot of people who might be totally new to food banking and hunger relief.”

“As we’ve begun building relationships with breweries, we’ve found that it’s an easy sell. They really care about this issue,” Little said.

According to the latest data from Feeding America, 1.49 million people are food insecure in Michigan, meaning they struggle to get enough food to lead a healthy life. That’s 15.1 percent of the population.

Since the Hops Against Hunger initiative kicked off in 2016, it’s raised more than $20,000 to support the food banks serving those people. A dozen establishments took part last year, and that number has risen to 40, showing a growing commitment to hunger relief in the state’s brewing community.

hops against hunger

Carrie Veldman, sustainability coordinator for BarFly Ventures, the company behind Grand Rapids Brewing Company and HopCat, says the motivation is simple. “By partnering with local nonprofits such as Feeding America, breweries and bars have the opportunity to invest in the community that has spent time and money investing in them.”

Grand Rapids Brewing Company and all six HopCat locations in Michigan are participating in Hops Against Hunger, each in support of the food bank serving their community.

Veldman says the partnership makes sense, because the food bank model of rescuing good surplus food and putting it to use is closely aligned with BarFly’s own waste-reduction practices. “Food recovery is one of our central values,” she said.

“Here in the U.S., our food waste is estimated at about 40 percent and we’re working to change this within our walls,” Veldman continued. “We’ve started a program at all of our locations where we donate any extra food we’ve acquired from beer dinners or monthly features to our local Feeding America food banks. All food that cannot be donated, like fruit and vegetable scraps and leftovers, is composted, so instead of rotting in a landfill, our food scraps can become nutrient-rich soil!”

Like many Hops Against Hunger participants, each BarFly location will be donating proceeds from one beer throughout the month. HopCat’s brand-new Royal Oak location, for example, will donate $1 from every pint of All Day IPA from Founders Brewing Company to Gleaners Community Food Bank.

hops against hungerOthers, like Greenbush Brewing Company in Sawyer, are organizing one-day events. On Friday, Sept. 22, Greenbush will host their second-annual Harvest Party, featuring live music, a bratwurst-grilling competition and the release of a beer brewed in collaboration with food bank staff.

“We wanted to give breweries the freedom to put their own stamp on it. We’ve seen some breweries come to us with really cool ideas and we love that their events are highlighting the diversity of the craft beer scene in Michigan,” Little said.

The Food Bank of South Central Michigan, for example, is working with the Kalamazoo Brew Bus to organize a pub crawl with several area breweries and beer bars on Sept. 28.

Ore Dock Brewing Company of Marquette, the campaign’s northernmost participant, has been raising money for hunger relief in the Upper Peninsula for years. They will be hosting a Pack the Pub Night on Sept. 21, when $1 from every pint of True North will be donated.

“We pride ourselves on being a community-minded business and that means lending a hand wherever we can,” said Adam Robarge, production and branding manager for Ore Dock. “Quite simply, having access to healthy food is a basic necessity that absolutely no one should have to go without.”

Information about participating breweries, events and Michigan’s food banks can be found at HopsAgainstHungerMI.org.

hops against hunger

Hops Against Hunger Participants

Feeding America West Michigan Beards Brewery Burnt Marshmallow Brewing Creston Brewery Grand Armory Brewing Grand Rapids Brewing Company Greenbush Brewing Company Harmony Hall HopCat Grand Rapids New Holland Brewing Company North Pier Brewing Company Ore Dock Brewing Company Pigeon Hill Brewing Company Silver Harbor Brewing Company Terra GR Restaurant The Livery Microbrewery The Mitten Brewing Company The Sovengard Tripelroot Watermark Brewing Company

Food Gatherers HopCat Ann Arbor

Food Bank of South Central Michigan Arcadia Ales Kalamazoo Brite Eyes Brewing Company The Distant Whistle Grand River Brewery HopCat Kalamazoo Kalamazoo Brew Bus Territorial Brewing Company

Food Bank of Eastern Michigan Loggers Brewing Company Michigan on Main Bar and Grill Table and Tap Tenacity Brewing Tri-City Brewing Company

Forgotten Harvest HopCat Detroit

Gleaners Community Food Bank Farmington Brewing Company HopCat Royal Oak

Greater Lansing Food Bank EagleMonk Pub and Brewery Ellison Brewery and Spirits HopCat East Lansing Lansing Brewing Company Ozone’s Brewhouse

 

About Feeding America West Michigan. The Hops Against Hunger campaign was created by Feeding America West Michigan in 2016. Serving local families in need since 1981, Feeding America West Michigan reclaims safe surplus food from farmers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers. That food is distributed through a network of more than 900 food pantries, youth programs, and other hunger-relief agencies in 40 counties from the Indiana border through the Upper Peninsula. Each year, an estimated 492,100 people receive food from Feeding America West Michigan. For more information, visit FeedWM.org.

About Hops Against Hunger. Hops Against Hunger is a campaign uniting Michigan’s craft beer community with food banks serving those in need. Forty breweries, beer bars and restaurants are raising money for Michigan’s seven Feeding America-affiliated food banks during Hunger Action Month this September. Together, these food banks provide food to a network of thousands of local food pantries, soup kitchens, senior centers, and schools in every one of Michigan’s 83 counties. To learn more about Hops Against Hunger and to find a participating brewery near you, visit HopsAgainstHungerMI.org.

DETROIT – Craft beer officially arrived in Detroit this weekend with the grand opening of HopCat in Midtown.

The bar’s delayed, but carefully crafted opening time of 11 a.m. on 12/13/14 went off without a hitch Saturday. Patrons lined the building several hours before the doors opened.

“This was the result of more than a year’s worth of work from the team at HopCat and Short’s,” said Chris Knape, Marketing & Communications Director for BarFly Ventures. “We had an incredible crowd that gathered starting at 5:30 a.m. They were in incredible spirits.”

The first 200 people in line received official punch cards for a free years-worth of crack fries, limited to one order per week.

Although he didn’t plan on being the first in line, Grand Rapids native and Wayne State University student Reed Bramble didn’t want to take a chance of missing out on his favorite part of HopCat.

“I love crack fries,” he said. “I’m from Grand Rapids and that’s the thing to get when you go.”

HopCat and Short’s Brewing Company broke their own tap takeover world record with 120 Short’s specialties offered at the opening. The original record was set by both companies at the HopCat East Lansing opening in 2013.

Joe Short, CEO and Creative Engineer of Short’s Brewing Company, said everyone was excited to break the record with 120 beers.

“It’s really exciting anytime we can get this many beers in one place,” he said. “It’s unheard of.”

The tap list featured some of Short’s most exclusive brews including highlights like Whiskey Sour, Bourbon Carrot Cake, Double Barrel Bourbon Wizard, Richard in the Dirt and OMGWTFBBQ.

“Our entire portfolio is around 300, probably 400,” Short said. “As soon as we know something like this is going to happen, we start saving beers. We started a HopCat stash.”

At 11 a.m. on the dot, the doors opened and the cold crowd filed in until capacity was reached. The bar would stay at capacity for the duration of the day, sporting a line outside into the evening hours.

For Short, the day was special not only because of the beers, but more because of the people and the experiences shared.

“It has been a really unique opportunity for us to get to know the people who have been supporting us all of these years, up close and personal,” he said. “The most rewarding part about being a brewer is having that direct impact. You’ve affected somebody somehow, some way in a positive way.”

Revitalizing Midtown

HopCat, located on the corner of Woodward Avenue and West Canfield Street, is a two story building that is nearly a century old.

“It was empty for almost eight years,” Knape said. “We spent more than four million dollars on the renovation.”

Capacity tops 700 people when all is said and done. The main floor features a large bar with table tops all around it. Several leather half-booths (also dubbed “mafia booths”) face the windows lining Woodward and leading upstairs. The artwork throughout the bar features custom paintings of Detroit musical icons such as Bob Seger and Stevie Wonder.

The second floor known as The Huma Room, is named after owner Mark Sellers favorite Short’s flagship beer Huma Lupa Licious. The large and open room features another large bar with half a 1968 Fleetwood Brougham hanging above it. Several of the walls are covered with concert posters of Detroit and Michigan shows. The Huma Room also doubles as concert venue, which hosted Detroit’s own Howling Diablos on Saturday evening.

Moving forward after the opening, Knape hopes the bar will be one of the catalysts to a positive revitalization in Detroit.

“Detroit is the center of the action in Michigan. There’s a lot of positive going on in the city,” he said. “We hope it serves as a magnet to people. A hub of craft beer in the city.”

Scott Newman-Bale, Partner President of Business Development for Short’s Brewing Company, spoke about both Short’s and HopCat supporting Detroit and Michigan.

“We’re a Michigan-only company. One of our slogans is Michigan only, Michigan forever,” he said. “When you look at Detroit, it’s been an exciting year. I think when you’re in Detroit, there’s a new sense of optimism of where we’re going.”

Short, a Bellaire native, also echoed the important of a thriving Detroit.

“In a city like Detroit this is a huge win. This is the heartbeat of our state,” he said. “We had to run the defibrillators. And this is the start of that defibrillation. We’re happy to have this presence down here because forever, Detroit has not only been the heartbeat of Michigan, but the Midwest.”

Knape stressed the opening of HopCat would not have happened without a lot of support, including and especially the customers.

“Having the incredible positivity and the warm welcome was really the validation about being in Detroit,” he said. “There’s a bright future ahead for HopCat and the city.”

 

DETROIT – Craft beer officially arrived in Detroit this weekend with the grand opening of HopCat in Midtown.
The bar’s delayed, but carefully crafted opening time of 11 a.m. on 12/13/14 went off without a hitch Saturday. Patrons lined the building several hours before the doors opened.
“This was the result of more than a year’s worth of work from the team at HopCat and Short’s,” said Chris Knape, Marketing & Communications Director for BarFly Ventures. “We had an incredible crowd that gathered starting at 5:30 a.m. They were in incredible spirits.”
The first 200 people in line received official punch cards for a free years-worth of crack fries, limited to one order per week.
Although he didn’t plan on being the first in line, Grand Rapids native and Wayne State University student Reed Bramble didn’t want to take a chance of missing out on his favorite part of HopCat.
“I love crack fries,” he said. “I’m from Grand Rapids and that’s the thing to get when you go.”
HopCat and Short’s Brewing Company broke their own tap takeover world record with 120 Short’s specialties offered at the opening. The original record was set by both companies at the HopCat East Lansing opening in 2013.
Joe Short, CEO and Creative Engineer of Short’s Brewing Company, said everyone was excited to break the record with 120 beers.
“It’s really exciting anytime we can get this many beers in one place,” he said. “It’s unheard of.”
The tap list featured some of Short’s most exclusive brews including highlights like Whiskey Sour, Bourbon Carrot Cake, Double Barrel Bourbon Wizard, Richard in the Dirt and OMGWTFBBQ.
“Our entire portfolio is around 300, probably 400,” Short said. “As soon as we know something like this is going to happen, we start saving beers. We started a HopCat stash.”
At 11 a.m. on the dot, the doors opened and the cold crowd filed in until capacity was reached. The bar would stay at capacity for the duration of the day, sporting a line outside into the evening hours.
For Short, the day was special not only because of the beers, but more because of the people and the experiences shared.
“It has been a really unique opportunity for us to get to know the people who have been supporting us all of these years, up close and personal,” he said. “The most rewarding part about being a brewer is having that direct impact. You’ve affected somebody somehow, some way in a positive way.”

Revitalizing Midtown

HopCat, located on the corner of Woodward Avenue and West Canfield Street, is a two story building that is nearly a century old.
“It was empty for almost eight years,” Knape said. “We spent more than four million dollars on the renovation.”
Capacity tops 700 people when all is said and done. The main floor features a large bar with table tops all around it. Several leather half-booths (also dubbed “mafia booths”) face the windows lining Woodward and leading upstairs. The artwork throughout the bar features custom paintings of Detroit musical icons such as Bob Seger and Stevie Wonder.
The second floor known as The Huma Room, is named after owner Mark Sellers favorite Short’s flagship beer Huma Lupa Licious. The large and open room features another large bar with half a 1968 Fleetwood Brougham hanging above it. Several of the walls are covered with concert posters of Detroit and Michigan shows. The Huma Room also doubles as concert venue, which hosted Detroit’s own Howling Diablos on Saturday evening.
Moving forward after the opening, Knape hopes the bar will be one of the catalysts to a positive revitalization in Detroit.
“Detroit is the center of the action in Michigan. There’s a lot of positive going on in the city,” he said. “We hope it serves as a magnet to people. A hub of craft beer in the city.”
Scott Newman-Bale, Partner President of Business Development for Short’s Brewing Company, spoke about both Short’s and HopCat supporting Detroit and Michigan.
“We’re a Michigan-only company. One of our slogans is Michigan only, Michigan forever,” he said. “When you look at Detroit, it’s been an exciting year. I think when you’re in Detroit, there’s a new sense of optimism of where we’re going.”
Short, a Bellaire native, also echoed the important of a thriving Detroit.
“In a city like Detroit this is a huge win. This is the heartbeat of our state,” he said. “We had to run the defibrillators. And this is the start of that defibrillation. We’re happy to have this presence down here because forever, Detroit has not only been the heartbeat of Michigan, but the Midwest.”
Knape stressed the opening of HopCat would not have happened without a lot of support, including and especially the customers.
“Having the incredible positivity and the warm welcome was really the validation about being in Detroit,” he said. “There’s a bright future ahead for HopCat and the city.”
 

On Saturday,  crisp, chilly weather didn’t keep fans away from Grand Rapids Brewing Co.’s 2nd Anniversary Party.

The line of people stretched down Ionia Avenue nearing HopCat before the 11 a.m. opening, with many rushing toward the back bar to buy the limited run of bottling for the brewery’s Polish Eagle and the Philanthropist.

The bourbon barrel aged imperial porter and barleywine barrels went for $15 each, with just 150 bottles available of each. Staff expected the bottles to last well into the afternoon, however many of the first patrons in the door took liberty and bought the maximum of two bottles of each.

Also on tap were last year’s Philanthropist and an amped-up version of the brewery’s Rosalynn Bliss Blonde called Empress Bliss.

A full taproom also took advantage of a $15 brunch buffet and a $2 Bloody Mary bar.