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Friday, October 24, 2014 | Last updated: 9:37am


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HopCat opening draws large crowds




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Patrons wait in line Aug. 22, 2013, for the grand opening of HopCat East Lansing, 300 Grove street. HopCat, owned by MSU alumnus Mark Sellers, gifted the first 200 in line with free Crack Fries every week for a year. Danyelle Morrow/The State News



After seeing the event page on Facebook, MSU alumnus Seth Brown knew there was no other option: he had to be at Thursday’s HopCat grand opening in East Lansing.

He took the day off work weeks ahead, coming down from Mount Pleasant, Mich., just for the occasion.

But when he arrived at 10 a.m., an hour before the doors opened, he took one look at the lines and knew he was in over his head. With a line going strong since 3 a.m., the crowd stretched down the block.

“I heard a bunch of people were gonna come a couple hours early, so I figured if I came an hour early, maybe I’d get in by the time it opens,” Brown said. “I had no idea what to expect.”

Known for its craft beer at its original Grand Rapids location, HopCat East Lansing, 300 Grove Street, aimed to set a world record on its opening day, offering 100 beers on tap from Short’s Brewing Company.

Despite the wait, Brown said the brews make it all worthwhile.

“It’s a lot of beer, and it’s good beer,” he said. “I’m not at all worried about that.”

MSU alumnus Mark Sellers opened the first HopCat location in Grand Rapids in 2008. His company, Barfly Ventures, operates both HopCat locations as well as other Grand Rapids-area bars.

Human biology senior Rachel Nestor said she expected excitement from the opening, not chaos.

“When I got here, the line was down by the (East Lansing) Police Station,” Nestor said. “But I like craft beer and I really like Short’s, so I thought it would be cool and worth it.”

Rob Duck, who worked security for the opening, said he fully expected the event to be as popular as it was.

“It’s Barfly,” Duck said. “They’re extremely good at what they do. Everyone’s been very cooperative, and we’ve had very little problems.”


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