HOMES Brewery opens new campus, coffee roastery on Ann Arbor’s west side

The gallery space at HOMES' new campus on Ann Arbor's west side. (Meredith Bruckner)

ANN ARBOR – Award-winning HOMES Brewery has expanded its footprint on the west side.

Years in the making, its new campus at Jackson Plaza boasts 27,000 square feet across three buildings.

Owner and founder Tommy Kennedy said his initial vision for HOMES was to build a community out of a craft beer space, and that’s exactly what he did.

HOMES opened its brewpub in the spring of 2017 and was so well-received, it became known for its long lines ahead of special launches and selling out of beer within hours. Since its launch, the brewery led by head brewer Nick Panchame has won both national and international awards.

Soon after opening in 2017, Kennedy closed on the Jackson Plaza campus after quickly outgrowing his 1,500-square-foot brewing space at the brewpub.

Barrels of beer and brewing tanks inside HOMES' warehouse at Jackson Plaza. (Meredith Bruckner)

He said all of HOMES’ beers are still brewed at the brewpub but are stored and fermented in a large warehouse on the new campus.

Its newest invention, a smoothie seltzer called Smooj, is its first drink to enter distribution. Currently, it is sold in 11 states spanning both coasts and within the next year should be in 25 states, said Kennedy. Another building on its Jackson Plaza campus will soon be dedicated completely to Smooj production as demand for the drink grows.

A new state-of-the-art coffee roaster at Dozer Coffee. (Meredith Bruckner)

The campus also features Kennedy’s newest venture Dozer Coffee. The cafe and roastery is front and center at the complex’s entrance, and offers in-house roasted coffee, scratch doughnuts, homemade burritos, milk bread sandwiches and plentiful seating.

Kennedy said Dozer is designed to be a place where you can enjoy breakfast and lunch items along with a good cup of coffee.

The interior of Dozer Coffee. (Meredith Bruckner)

“The intention behind adding everything else was we knew we had this extra capacity for brewing but also didn’t want it to be a sad warehouse,” said Kennedy. “We wanted it to be active and vibrant, and the logical next step was coffee. There’s also an overlap in terms of consumers. (We wanted) something that would activate the space during the day and be very complementary.”

Specialty doughnuts are made from scratch at Dozer Coffee. (Meredith Bruckner)

He said the new facility also acts as a creative hub for HOMES staff and boasts a large commercial kitchen. Panchame and head coffee roaster Adam Rizzo are trained chefs, and approach both crafts from a culinary perspective, constantly experimenting with flavors, said Kennedy. He added that the group plans to host pop-ups in their space, allowing burgeoning chefs to test and share their concepts with the local community.

Just past Dozer’s space lies a taproom where HOMES serves up its signature Smooj, beers, canned drinks to-go and merch. A large, bright flex space lies toward the back of the building. The white room features rotating art installations, the first of which is on display now.

"Paintings" of Mike Han's are on display at the HOMES campus. Each piece was cut from a single digital painting in Synecdoche's fabrication studio. (Meredith Bruckner)

The installation is a collaboration between artist Mike Han and Synecdoche Design Studio, a local firm which also designed the entire campus. Han also installed permanent murals in the building’s bathrooms and dining area hallway.

Titled “Together We Are Whole,” the installation features more than 100 8x10-inch black veneer pieces of plywood cut from a single digital painting. The individual pieces are on sale for $125.

Kennedy said he hopes the cafe-meets-gallery becomes more than just a remote work space for customers.

“We’re trying to make the interior space about creating a community around coffee instead of isolationists on their laptops,” said Kennedy. “It’s a more active, vibrant space where people are welcome to be on their computers but it’s also a place where you can have a conversation.”

Seating areas with fire pits line the campus courtyard. (Meredith Bruckner)

Outside is a large courtyard space with bonfire pits. With its large garage doors that can quickly make the flex gallery room an indoor-outdoor space, Kennedy envisions it as a place for community-geared events.

“Family movie nights out in the beer garden or art shows, you name it,” he said. “It felt like, let’s just make a fertile ground for fun, creative activities.”

The HOMES campus is located at 112 Jackson Plaza.

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About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.