Next Backstage Series Release: reDANKulous Imperial Red IPA

reDANKulous_bottle_web2We plan to release reDANKulous Imperial Red IPA in August 2015 to mark the thirteenth installment in our popular Backstage Series. Like all Backstage Series beers, reDANKulous will be sold in 750mL bottles, and it will have a suggested retail price of $9.99 per bottle.

reDANKulous Imperial Red IPA is a no frills, bold 9.5% ABV India Pale Ale. It pours a pleasing burnt amber with some sweetness due to the Caramalt and roasted barley used in the malt bill. But hops are the true headliner in this elaborate sensory experience. The spicy, piney, tropical complexities of Chinook, Mosaic and Simcoe hops hit you right away with their dank aroma—and they stick around. Take a sip to have your palate simultaneously walloped and caressed in all the right places. Combined, the hops take the beer to 90 IBUs. It’s not just ridiculous. It’s reDANKulous.

“We love hops,” said Co-Founder and President Dave Engbers. “Simple as that. Our brewers love to experiment with new varieties, new combinations and new techniques. This dank beer is a fun, intense showcase of hops. We hope all of you hop heads out there enjoy it.”

reDANKulous will be released in limited quantities across our distribution footprint beginning on Monday, August 31, and will be available in our taproom beginning on Friday, August 28. This will be the second Backstage Series release from Founders in 2015; beer enthusiasts should expect one more release from Founders later in the year.

Check out the making of the reDANKulous label here:

 

Centennial IPA Untappd Badge

Founders Centennial IPA Untappd badge

Centennial IPA is a celebration of the classic American hop variety. It spotlights the floral aroma and citrus accents of Centennial hops, but has remained a go-to IPA for years because of the malt balance that keeps it from being one-dimensional. So don’t just have one. Have two. One for each of the angels on the label. If you do, you’ll earn the Founders Bi – Centennial badge.

By checking into at least two Centennial IPAs between June 8 and July 8 on Untappd, you can unlock the “Founders Bi – Centennial” badge.

 

New Markets of Distribution: The Dakotas and Western Minnesota!

We’ve partnered with Johnson Brothers to offer our beers across the Dakotas and in Western Minnesota beginning in June 2015. Beer enthusiasts in these markets will now have the opportunity to enjoy Founders’ world-class products without having to leave their hometowns.

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“We’re looking forward to getting our beer to all of the Midwestern states with our new partners Johnson Brothers,” said Co-Founder & CEO Mike Stevens. “As we continue the progress on our facility expansion, it’s going to allow us get our beer to even more enthusiasts this year. And we’re starting with some of our neighbors.”

Founders plans to include all of its year-round and seasonal ales in kegs in the first shipments to these markets, and will follow with cans and bottles in the late summer. There may also be some limited release available at select craft beer retailers following the launch—stay tuned to our events page and Twitter handle for launch event information.

Check out all of the states in which Founders is available here.

 

Rubaeus Untappd Badge

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Not another boring summer wheat beer or lemonade shandy—Rubaeus pure raspberry ale is Founders’ way to celebrate the warmer months. It doesn’t have a boring name, either. But, because it’s a made-up word, beer enthusiasts can struggle with its pronunciation. (Don’t worry, it’s not just you!) Check in to this beer on Untappd and get a badge that will help you remember how to say “roo-bay-us” the next time you order it. And the next and the next.

By checking into Rubaeus on Untappd, you can unlock the “Founders Rubaeus / roo-bay-us” badge. This badge is available for a limited time only, May 1 through June 1.

 

Coming This Summer: Untombed Ale, Brewed in Honor of the King Tut Exhibit at the Grand Rapids Public Museum

The Discovery of King Tut, an exhibit that allows visitors to experience what it was like for Howard Carter and his team when they first discovered the tomb of Tutakhamun in 1922, is coming to the Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) this spring–and the museum has asked us to make a special beer in honor of it!

 

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Brewmaster Jeremy Kosmicki is working on a recipe for Untombed Ale, which will be a sweet, thick-bodied, low ABV ancient Egyptian beer interpreted in a modern Founders way. The beer will be blood red in color and brewed with plenty of wheat and toasted biscuit malt to give it a bready character. Because hops didn’t exist in ancient Egypt, Jeremy will be using herbs and spices in their place; dates and honey are traditional ingredients that will also be incorporated in the recipe. The beer will be available on at GRPM’s special opening preview party “A Night on the Nile” on Friday, May 15, as well as in our taproom while supplies last. It will be a draft-only release, and there are no current plans to release it out to the Founders distribution footprint.

Tickets for the exhibit go on sale next Monday, March 30. They will be available via grpm.org, or by calling 616.456.3977. Museum members will receive discounted admission. Visit grpm.org for more information. Tickets are currently available for the opening party “A Night on the Nile” on May 15 at grpm.org. The exhibition will open to the public on Saturday, May 16, 2015 at 12 noon.

 

Brewed for Film: A Movie Series Partnership with Celebration! Cinema

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Who doesn’t love watching a classic film with a beer in hand? What if that beer were a Founders, and you were watching the movie on the big screen in Beer City USA? Our friends at Celebration! Cinema are hosting us for Brewed for Film: A Movie Series, and we couldn’t be more excited. The movie and beer pairings below have been hand-selected by our team for the ultimate theatre viewing experience:

March 25: The Godfather paired with Imperial Stout
April 1: This Is Spinal Tap paired with Black Rye
April 8: Caddyshack paired with All Day IPA
April 15: Grumpy Old Men paired with Curmudgeon Old Ale
April 22: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels paired with Dirty Bastard
April 29: The Shawshank Redemption paired with Red’s Rye IPA
May 6: BeerFest paired with Centennial IPA
May 13: Shaun of the Dead paired with Pale Ale
May 20: The Graduate paired with [Dark, Rich & Sexy] Porter
May 27: Wet Hot American Summer paired with Rubaeus

 

Mark your calendars, and join us each Wednesday at 8pm at Celebration! Cinema Grand Rapids North. Movie tickets are only $1 each. Get there early because there will be trivia with Founders and Celebration! giveaways as prizes! The movies will take us right up to [a Hot Wet American] summer. Who knows, maybe we’ll announce some more show times at that point. Stay tuned…

 

Get Your Nitro Stache On with This Untappd Badge

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Unlike some other alcoholic beverages, beer has many expressions—differences in the aroma, flavor and color of beers are wide-ranging. Mouthfeel is another thing that varies from beer to beer, and the carbonation process has a lot to do with it. Most beers are carbonated with CO2, but nitrogen can also be used. Nitrogen-infused beers are distinctly creamier than their CO2 counterparts. Try our Nitro Pale Ale side-by-side with its CO2-powered counterpart for a pure mouthfeel comparison, since the two beers are brewed with the exact same ingredients. Or opt for our Nitro Oatmeal Stout, a taproom staple that we decided to share with our distribution footprint last year, for a Founders take on a classic style.

By checking into one of our two nitro beers, available on draft only, you can earn your stache—your nitro stache, that is. Check-in to either Nitro Oatmeal Stout OR Nitro Pale Ale to unlock the “Founders Nitro Stache” badge on Untappd. This badge is available for a limited time only, March 3 through April 3. Be sure to track these two great beers down to get your badge—and take a picture of your nitro stache while you’re at it! Share it with us using #brewedfor nitro staches.

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Year-Round Arsenal Untappd Badge

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Contrary to popular belief, beer doesn’t have to be rare, hard to find or made with some obscure ingredient to be world class. Sometimes the truly world class beers are those you see on the shelves or at the pub year-round. We pride ourselves on our year-round arsenal of bold, uncompromising, well-crafted beers..

Celebrate our year-round offerings with our most recent Untappd badge, “Founders Year-Round Arsenal”. You can unlock this badge by checking into at least two of the following year-round beers on Untappd between February 2 and March 2:

 

KBS Week 2015

We’re happy to announce the second annual KBS Week, in honor of the release of Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) this year. The beer will be available starting March 30 across our distribution footprint, but visitors to and residents of Grand Rapids will be able to enjoy it March 9–14.

KBS is our most infamous beer. It’s included in lists of the best beers in the world published by sources ranging from RateBeer to Business Insider. It’s inherently a limited release because it ages in bourbon barrels for a year in the caves beneath Grand Rapids. In years past, beer enthusiasts like you have crashed web servers with the traffic caused by your interest in this beer, and we’ve had people camping outside the brewery in frigid temperatures so they can be first to get their share.

A small pour of KBS in front of a KBS Week bag

Last year, for the first time, we decided to open up the release so that people coming to Grand Rapids for KBS could enjoy all of Beer City USA—and it was a success. Once again this year, fifteen Founders-supporting craft-beer-centric bars and restaurants in the Grand Rapids area will each tap a keg of KBS on a day and time of their choosing between March 9 and 13. KBS Week will culminate with the Founders taproom release party, where KBS will be poured all day on Saturday, March 14.

Bottles of KBS available for pickup in our taproom will be released using a pre-ticketed reservation process on EventBrite. Bottles can be reserved beginning on Saturday, February 14, at 11am EST, and they will be available for pickup March 10–14. Ticket proceeds will go to Grand Rapids Whitewater.

A couple of four packs of KBS on a Founders case box

“It’s a blast working with our wholesaler and retailer partners to turn the release of KBS into something that celebrates the entire West Michigan beer community,” said Co-Founder and President Dave Engbers. “We wouldn’t be where we are today—and KBS wouldn’t have the same notoriety—if it weren’t for our incredible local partners and their support over the years. We have wholesaler sales teams, bar owners, knowledgeable bartenders, skilled chefs and many more to thank. This week is a celebration for all of us. Last year was fun, and we think this year will be even better.”

A handful of area hotels will be offering KBS week packages—including discounted room rates, limited edition gear in rooms and more—with information available on the Experience Grand Rapids website. About 100 people reserved these packages last year, an exciting sign that craft beer has the power to bring visitors to West Michigan.

KBS will be available throughout Michigan beginning on Monday, March 16, and throughout the rest of our footprint beginning on Monday, March 30.

For full KBS Week details, head to kbsweek.com.

 

 

Black Rye Is Back Untappd Badge

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Pulled from our recipe vault back in 2006, Black Rye Is Back. Before Black IPAs were all the rage, we made a dry-hopped dark ale with copious amounts of rye malt. Black Rye is a perfectly balanced blend of German- and American-grown hops, premium 2-row barley and heavily kilned rye and wheat malts. As with many of our offerings, there’s no style category that can contain this beer. It carries 7.5% ABV and 78 IBUs and is a true original. Check-in to drinking our newest seasonal, Black Rye, on Untappd in order to get the Black Rye Is Back badge! The badge is available January 6 through February 6–all you have to do is check-in to drinking this beer.

 

2015 Availability Calendar

Please see below for our 2015 availability calendar–it shows everything all in one place, for your beer planning needs.

Note that we will be continuing the release of our 750mL Backstage Series beers in 2014, with brands and timing yet to be determined. Stay tuned…

Founders 2015 Availability Calendar

Happy Holidays! Cheers to another great year ahead!

 

An Update from Our Co-Founders

Dear Beer Enthusiasts,

DaveandMike_earlyphotoFounders was first dreamt up about 20 years ago, when my fellow co-founder Dave and I were in college, imagining what we wanted to do with the rest of our lives. We were admittedly a bit foolhardy back in those days. The first chapter of our story was marked by years of struggle, to the point where we were on the brink of bankruptcy in the early 2000s. We turned things around with our “Brewed for Us” philosophy in the second chapter of the brewery, but it wasn’t until the third chapter, when we moved to our current facility in 2007, that we started to get some real recognition and were able to grow to meet increasing demand.

Over the course of the past several months, Dave and I realized that we were coming upon the time to bring on a long-term partner to help us grow our brand on a larger scale—to move into the brewery’s next chapter. Founders has become recognized as one of the leaders in the craft beer segment. In considering the legacy of our brand, we knew that diversifying our ownership would allow Founders to thrive for many future generations. It’s important to us that Founders becomes a multi-generational brewery with roots in the culture that we’ve built right here in Grand Rapids.

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The right partner will help drive our growth. Despite the continued expansion of our facility in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, plenty of beer enthusiasts still don’t have access to our beer. Some of them (including some of you reading this right now) have been asking us about bringing Founders to their hometowns for years; others don’t yet know what they’re missing. We have plans for continued growth that will get the beer that we’re so proud of into more hands and that will help solidify Founders as a leading craft brewery for years to come.

After a lot of reflection, we decided that it was important to partner with a brewer, not a bank. We considered many options and felt most comfortable partnering with a brewer because they have the best understanding of our world: We all get up every day and head to work, where we make beer. We wanted and needed a partner like us, that was product-driven and that cared about the longevity of their beer, their craft, their values, their community and their culture more than short-term financial results.

We are honored to announce that Mahou San Miguel (Mahou), Spain’s most prominent and oldest brewer, will be our new partner. Mahou is a 125-year-old seventh-generation-family-owned brewery based in Madrid, and they are coming on as a minority investor in Founders.

Mahou will help us grow to be an internationally recognized brand. They’re looking at this investment as a long-term partnership, and they’re excited to help grow Founders throughout their extensive global distribution footprint. Mahou’s financial stability opens doors to new opportunities for us.

Mahou shares many of our values. Family comes first to them, just as it does to the Founders Family. Mahou has been family-owned for its entire 125-year history; the family’s matriarch still runs the board despite being in her 80s. They are committed to quality and authenticity, just as we are.

Founders will remain Founders. Nothing will change—well, not any more that it does in a usual month at Founders, during a facility expansion, no less. We are committed to growing here in Grand Rapids. The brewery will stay here, and our beers will not change—though we’ll keep innovating. The entire Founders Family will stay intact. In fact, we’ll continue to grow the Founders Family as we have been for the past handful of years.

Perhaps the most important reason why this partnership makes sense at this point in the Founders story is we are poised to redefine beer around the globe, and Mahou is looking forward to helping us do that. Mahou admires what we’re doing, and both breweries recognize that we can change the world’s perception of beer more effectively if we work together.

This partnership will not affect our domestic distribution footprint, our existing wholesaler partnerships or where and how we go to market. However, Mahou will bring unique experience and strong networks to help us build our brand internationally, in Spain and beyond, which is very exciting.

With this partnership, Mahou’s assumed a 30% minority ownership in Founders that allows us to afford some liquidity to our long-standing shareholders. Many of our early investors are aging, and we believe it’s fair that they have the opportunity to realize a portion of their significant investments in the brewery. This is our way of saying thank you for their loyal support over the years.

This is a moment of pride and celebration for this brewery that the Founders Family has poured our blood, sweat and tears into. The liquid speaks for itself. American craft brewing has moved from a hobby to an internationally recognized industry. The world has taken notice, and this partnership will allow us to continue to blow more and more people away with Founders beers. We’re thrilled to be at the forefront of redefining what beer can be in Grand Rapids, in Michigan, in the United States, and, soon, around the globe.

We can’t thank you enough for your support over the years. While we’ve changed a ton over the past 17 years, our brand, our culture and our Founders Family are still the most important factors in what makes Founders something we’re all proud to be a part of. We remain committed to those things above all.

Thanks for joining us on this incredible ride so far. Hang on, because it’s nowhere near over.

 

Mike Stevens & Dave Engbers

Co-Founders

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

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