History

Mike Stevens and Dave Engbers both had steady jobs when they decided to chase their dreams and open a brewery–which meant writing a business plan, quitting their jobs, and taking out giant loans. They figured if you’re going to live life, you ought to live it hard, without regrets.

After some initial challenges, due to making well balanced but unremarkable beers, we were on the verge of bankruptcy. It was at this point that the original Founders team decided to brew the kind of beer that got them excited about brewing in the first place: complex, in-your-face ales, with huge aromatics, bigger body, and tons of flavor.

The Founders Family, a group of passionate beer enthusiasts, has grown around this simple philosophy: “We don’t brew beer for the masses. Instead, our beers are crafted for a chosen few, a small cadre of renegades and rebels who enjoy a beer that pushes the limits of what is commonly accepted as taste. In short, we make beer for people like us.”

Dave Engbers and Mike Stevens in the caves beneath Grand Rapids, where the brewery stores their barrel-aged beers.

We at Founders Brewing Co. have been lucky to evolve into one of the highest recognized breweries in the United States. We have been ranked in the top breweries in the world by Ratebeer.com for the last five years, and we have several beers listed in the top one hundred beers of the world on Beeradvocate.com. We were the winner of four medals at the 2010 World Beer Cup, two medals at the 2010 Great American Beer Festival, and one medal at the 2012 World Beer Cup.

We are proud to be doing what we are doing, and we give great thanks to our many customers and credit to our staff for whom we continually work to reinvent and provide world-class beers.