Leaving downtown Ann Arbor is not something Arbor Brewing Company owner Mike Collins wants to do, but it may be for the best, he said.
Arbor Brewing Company, 114 East Washington Street, is closing Sunday, June 7th, as Collins searches for a new location in the city.
On top of challenges from the novel coronavirus and state-ordered closures of non-essential businesses, the company’s lease is nearing its end and the “realities of operating downtown have changed,” according to a Tuesday, May 26th Facebook post announcing the closure.
“It’s a number of factors,” Collins said. “The pandemic has not helped. We’re doing 20% of the volume in that location compared to our other locations. I think people don’t want to venture downtown.”
Arbor Brewing Company has locations in Ypsilanti and Plymouth, which are remaining open.
Collins also cited rising downtown Ann Arbor rent as a reason for the move, but added he’s been communicating with landlords, brokers and restaurant owners about a possible new space.
“We want to make it seamless,” Collins said, adding that about 80% of the downtown location’s employees requested to keep their jobs and will be hired at the other locations or Collins’ Bigalora Wood Fired Cucina restaurant, 3050 Washtenaw Ave.
Until the closure, Arbor Brewing is offering a $25 Corny Keg Fill sale and growlers for $5 for curbside pickup, Collins said. More updates will appear on the business’ social media sites, he said.
Collins, a frequent customer at the pub in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and took over Arbor Brewing in 2017.
“It’s a combination of everything,” he said. “It’s great beer, great food but really great people. We’ve seen an outpouring of folks who had their first date here, their weeding here. Hopefully, we’ll have a new spot for folks to go to.”
In the meantime, Collins said he and his team are working to expand the beer garden at the Ypsilanti and Plymouth locations to be ready as soon as the state’s stay-at-home order lifts.
Until then, those locations will “continue to be open for curbside and delivery,” according to the announcement.
“We continue to brew and package beer for statewide distribution out of our Ypsilanti brewery, so there will not be any impact to availability of your favorite Arbor beers,” the announcement states.