When Noah Kaplan and his team launched Mothfire Brewing Co.
in 2020, their goal was to create new beers for 1,000 days, perfecting the craft as they went along.
“We were brewing recipes every single week, releasing them to the public, seeing what the public thought, refining the recipes, and trying a lot ourselves,” says Kaplan.
Shortly after passing day 700, Mothfire has reached a new milestone: beer on tap served out of the brewery’s location at 2290 S. Industrial Hwy. in Ann Arbor. Until that recent change, Mothfire had been operating primarily as a local distributor.
“We want to bring people in,” says Kaplan. “We want to taste beers with them. We're ready to hang out again and celebrate with people. We were like, ‘For about 10 hours a week, let's just open up the doors like an Amsterdam-style garage bar and just let people hang out.’”
Mothfire is currently open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
“It's always super chill in there,” says Kaplan. “We light real candles, we play music, sometimes we spin records.” He encourages patrons to bring their own food as well.
Kaplan is the founder and president of Ann Arbor-based Leon Speakers
, where he and a few of his employees used to brew out of a one-barrel commercial system as a passion project. So when the owners of the now-closed Pileated Brewing Company contacted him about taking over their space and old equipment in 2019, he put together a team and jumped in.
Their colorful minimalist 16-ounce cans, designed by Kaplan’s brother Dan, can be found at several Ann Arbor retailers including Plum Market
, Arbor Farms Market
, and The Produce Station
. A collaboration with Zingerman’s Roadhouse
, a new beer called RoHo Joe, is also coming soon.
At the end of Mothfire’s 1,000 initial days, Kaplan says the company’s plan is to roll out an as-yet-undisclosed new location that will help Mothfire further expand its production and distribution.
“This is the ‘garage stage,’” says Kaplan. “Then we are beginning a build-out of a large new space that will be able to produce an epic quantity of beer.”
Sabine Bickford Brown is a freelance writer and editor based in Ann Arbor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo by Noah Kaplan.