Cotton Brewing Company opens taproom in former auto parts store

Cotton Brewing Company

A former auto parts store in an industrial section of Adrian is now the home of a new taproom opened by Cotton Brewing Company.

After a “soft opening” on New Year’s Day for friends, family and members of the brewery’s Founders Club, the taproom drew guests from as far as Ann Arbor, Jackson, Livonia and Westland over the course of the holiday weekend.

Owners Brett and Krista Cotton plan to have 16 beers on tap — with probably three or four regular beers that are always available, and the rest rotating frequently.

Aside from a popcorn machine and prepackaged snacks like chips and pretzels, they’re not planning to make food themselves. Instead, they’re trying out a “guest kitchen” concept that Brett Cotton said he’s seen be successful in places like Ann Arbor and Columbus. There’s a space just off the taproom where a food truck operator can easily set up shop for a day or two, which means the Cottons can focus on brewing and be able to operate a rotating menu if they want to.

The first food truck to set up in the “guest kitchen” is Smoke Signals BBQ, run by Rob Cotton, Brett’s brother. “He’s the expert on food; I’m the expert on beer,” Cotton explained.

The taproom is located in a former auto parts store across the street from Pete’s Radiator Service. Cotton said going into an industrial space is common for taprooms.

“First and foremost, breweries are beer factories,” he said. So the building’s high ceilings, concrete floor, bay door, and large square footage were ideal.

Cotton Brewing Company Mug ClubA 24-seat U-shaped bar is the centerpiece of the front room. A mix of sitdown tables and hightops surround it. One one side is the brewery’s “Mug Club” wall. For $50, customers can buy their own glass mug, a permanent space on the wall to hang it, and a 10 percent discount for life. (Another $35 gets the buyer a custom ceramic mug and T-shirt in addition to the glass, storage peg and lifetime discount.)

“When you walk into a brewery and see a whole bunch of mugs on the wall, you know that their community supports them,” Cotton said.

The taproom used to be A&L Auto, and was later the home of Napa Auto Parts, and Cotton said many of the guests over the weekend were people who used to work in the building and are glad to see it being repurposed after many years of vacancy.

The Cottons are currently brewing at the location on Lawrence Street where they’ve been operating for the past few years, but now that the public taproom is open, they’ll eventually be moving everything under one roof.

Cotton Brewing Company’s regular hours are from 4 p.m. to midnight Thursday, Friday and Saturday, although those hours may expand. The taproom is at 626 Oak St. and may be found online at CottonBrewing.com or on Facebook.