Announcing Three New States of Distribution

We’re expanding our distribution territory to include three new states: Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas. Founders beer is expected show up on shelves and draft lines in these new markets starting in April.

Founders will be represented by Quality Beverage in Oklahoma; Buquet Distributing, Schilling Distributing, Mockler Beverage, Southern Eagle Sales & Service, Champagne Beverage and Southwest Beverage in Louisiana; and Premium Brands of Northwest Arkansas, Coco Beverage and Golden Eagle of Arkansas in Arkansas.

“For the most part, these are states we’ve been looking at opening for a while now,” said Co-Founder and CEO Mike Stevens. “They’re part of a new region for us that we’re calling the South Central region. It includes Texas, which we opened last year, as well as Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana, which we’re opening all at once. Regardless we’re excited to be bringing our beer to enthusiasts across all of these three new states.”

Residents of these states can expect to find our year-round and seasonal products, both in bottles and on draft, in the first shipment. Specialty releases will follow our release schedule from there.

Opening these new states will bring our total distribution footprint to 30 states. Check out our new distribution map right here:

newstatedistromap_3.3.14

 

Our Brewer’s Playlist

We recently received some copies of Locally Brewed to sell in our company store. The writer, Anna Blessing, profiles 20 breweries in the Midwest, including Founders. It’s a beautiful book, and we think Anna has represented us and many of our friends well.

locallyBrewed2

One of our favorite features is the “Brewer’s Playlist” included for each brewery. Blessings asked brewers to submit about 15 songs that they love to listen to while at work (or otherwise). If you’ve ever toured a brewery in action (like ours on Saturdays and Tuesdays!), you know that music tends to be one of the things that makes breweries go ’round.

These playlists represent each brewery’s personality. Here’s our eclectic mix, for you to brew to, work to, party to…

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Download Our New App!

Head to this page to download our new app!

The main purpose of this first version of our app is a beer locator (modeled after our website’s beer locator) that allows you to find our beer in your area, wherever you are. It includes a comprehensive beer menu, with beautiful photos and beer availability information, and was created by Fusionary, a digital studio with offices across the street from the brewery.

We’ve been wanting to create this app for some time now. One of the most common questions we get is, “Where can I find X beer in X city?” This new tool will give you the power to answer this question yourself—because we know you always have your phone on you. Let’s just hope you remembered your house keys this time.

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Download the app now and keep in mind that we plan to add new features to it in future iterations.

 

KBS Week 2014

We’re doing something a little bit different for the KBS release in Grand Rapids this year.

Kentucky Breakfast Stout (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 Men’s Fitness. 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.

This year we’ve decided to open up the release so that people coming to Grand Rapids for KBS can enjoy all of Beer City USA. We’ll still be releasing bottles in our taproom, through a pre-ticketed release that lasts Tuesday, March 18, through, Saturday, March 22. Tickets will go on sale via EventBrite on Saturday, March 1, at 11am EST. What’s changing this year is we’re giving fifteen Founders-supporting craft-beer-centric bars and restaurants in the Grand Rapids area each a keg of KBS to tap on a day of their choosing throughout this same week.

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All details about KBS Week 2014, which lasts from March 18-22, can be found on a website that we’ve built just for this purpose. Check it out at kbsweek.com.

This is our way of saying thank you to restaurants and bars who are big supporters of the craft beer movement and to encourage people to visit all of the places that make Grand Rapids Beer City USA. We’re very much looking forward to this celebration with our community.

KBS will still be released starting on April 1 in limited quantities throughout our distribution footprint. KBS bottles will be released to our local market starting on Tuesday, March 25.

 

All Day IPA 15-Packs Coming This Spring

We’re excited to announce 15-pack cans of All Day IPA will begin shipping to our distributor partners in March, replacing All Day IPA 12-pack cans without raising the suggested retail price.

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This is the first time a major craft brewery has put out a 15-pack.

“We are able to offer 15-pack cans due to production efficiencies from packaging cost savings,” said Co-Founder Mike Stevens. “We’re excited to pass the savings on to our customers as a way of saying thank you for their reception of All Day IPA.”

Developing the All Day IPA recipe was no easy task. “We recognized the need for a full-flavored IPA with a lower ABV,” said Co-Founder Dave Engbers. “The challenge was creating a beer that had intense hop aromatics balanced with the malts without packing a big ABV punch.”

Following a limited release in 2012 due to hop shortages, we were able to send All Day IPA to all of our markets in February 2013, and it quickly became our leading seller. We moved the beer from our seasonal to our year-round lineup in July of last year. All Day IPA was the first Founders product to be released in cans; 12-pack cans of the beer hit the market in August 2013.

All Day IPA is a 4.7% ABV session ale, brewed with Simcoe and Amarillo hops and measuring out at 42 IBUs. We set our minds to brewing this beer because we wanted an American IPA that worked with an active lifestyle. It has won numerous awards, including a silver medal in the session beer category at the GABF in 2010 under a working name and, most recently, a 2014 Good Food Award.

Centennial IPA, the newest addition to our canned offerings, will remain in 12-packs. All Day IPA will still be available in the traditional six-pack bottles in addition to 15-pack cans. Other beers from our portfolio may be canned, as well, but those brands have yet to be determined.

 

All Day IPA Wins Good Food Award

We’re honored to announce that All Day IPA was selected as a 2014 Good Food Award winner.

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The Good Food Awards celebrate the kind of food we all want to eat: tasty, authentic and responsibly produced. They grant awards to outstanding American food producers and the farmers who provide their ingredients. They host an annual Awards Ceremony and Marketplace at the iconic Ferry Building in San Francisco to honor the Good Food Award recipients who push their industries towards craftsmanship and sustainability while enhancing our agricultural landscape and building strong communities.

Winners were selected from 1,450 entries from all 50 states in a blind tasting held in September. The 225 judges, experts in their various industries, flew to San Francisco for a full day of blind tasting. Those that rose to the top were subject to a rigorous vetting process to verify they met the sustainability and social responsibility criteria to win a Good Food Award. This year’s Good Food Award winners exemplify excellence in both taste and responsible production.

During the award ceremony on Thursday, January 16, culinary luminaries Alice Waters, Ruth Reichl and Nell Newman honored this year’s 130 winners onstage. The ceremony commenced with opening remarks from M.C. Dr. Zeke Emanuel, co-founder of the Farmers Market at the White House and advisor to President Obama on health care, who noted the integral link between health and the growth of sustainable food communities across the country.

Beer entries: Breweries making Good Beer are pioneers of local manufacturing, using traditional and creative brewing methods to redefine consumer expectations for craftsmanship with their beer. These brewers aim to reshape supply chains and promote responsibility by sourcing ingredients locally and grown without synthetic inputs when possible, practicing resource conservation and supporting local communities. Full beer entry criteria.

 

Taproom Construction Time Lapse: April To November 2013

Check out this video that The Scientist put together. It condenses over seven months of time lapse footage of our most recent building expansion, including our Centennial Room, beer garden, taproom expansion and new offices. Thanks to AOK Music for the track!

 

Smoked Porter: Small Batch Release, February 2014

Founders-Smoked-Porter-bottle-webWe plan to introduce Smoked Porter, brewed with a combination of beech wood–smoked barley and oak-smoked wheat malt along with a generous helping of chocolate malt, on shelves and draft lines beginning in February 2014. Like all of our Backstage Series beers, Smoked Porter will be sold in 750mL bottles, with a suggested retail price to be determined.

Brewed for the first time on our new three-barrel pilot system a few weeks ago, we decided this one was too good to keep to ourselves. This 8% ABV smoked robust porter delivers a beautiful balance of chocolate and smoke character that’s flavor forward without being overwhelming. It’s our first ever smoked beer.

“This is a style of beer that we’ve discussed brewing for a decade,” said Co-Founder and Vice President of Brand & Education Dave Engbers. “We weren’t able to fit it into our production schedule for years. Now, with our pilot system, our brewers have room for greater experimentation and aggressive recipe formulation. Brewing beers like this was the idea behind launching our Backstage Series and was a driving force in our investment in a pilot system this past summer.”

We also recently added a draft line in our taproom dedicated to our pilot system, only pouring those small batch experimental beers. A recent offering showcased our first lager in twelve years.

Limited bottles of Founders Smoked Porter will only be available in Michigan; draft will be available in most markets across our distribution footprint. The beer will be released in February, with exact timing dependent on distributor shipments. Bottles will be released in our taproom at a to-be-determined date. It will not be a pre-ticketed release. Look for at least two more Backstage Series releases from Founders in 2014.

 

2014 Availability Calendar

We’re excited to announce quite a few changes that we’ve made to the Founders brand calendar for 2014. Please see below for a graphic that shows everything all in one place (click here to see a larger version):

Founders Brewing Co. 2014 Availability Calendar

The Lowdown

Nitro Series

We’ve been pouring nitro beers in our taproom for some time now. For the past few months, we’ve been experimenting with sending kegs of Nitro Pale Ale and Nitro Oatmeal Stout out to the market, an experiment that has met great success. Because of this response, we’ve decided to add these two beers to our availability calendar so that more people outside of Grand Rapids can enjoy them. Please note that these are draft-only offerings. It’s an exciting addition to our lineup!

 

New Specialty Beer in Development

Our R&D team is hard at work developing a new specialty beer to be added to our calendar for next October, November and December (see the area marked TBA on the calendar). Stay tuned for more details on that as we move into 2014. It’s sure to be delicious.

 

Specialty Releases

We are decreasing the number of specialty releases from six to four, giving each of the specialty releases in 2014 three months of availability on shelves and draft lines. Most notably, we moved Backwoods Bastard from a specialty release to a limited release—this beer is inherently a limited release (because it’s barrel-aged), and it fits much better in our calendar in this position.

 

Seasonals

In 2013, we started with two seasonal beers—Breakfast Stout and All Day IPA—but we ended up moving All Day IPA to our year-round lineup, leaving just Breakfast Stout in the seasonal category, with some slots to fill for 2014. We are going to fill those slots with Red’s Rye IPA and Rübæus, expanding availability of both from two months to four.

 

Red’s Rye IPA

Perhaps you’ve been confused about how to categorize Red’s Rye into a beer style. The name could lead you to believe that it’s a pale ale or a rye beer or an amber. To clear things up, we are changing the official name of the beer from Red’s Rye PA to Red’s Rye IPA. Red’s Rye IPA is first and foremost an American IPA. We hope this name change will help people understand that.

Note: Red’s Rye IPA will remain available on draft year-round but bottles will be moving to our seasonal lineup in 2014 rather than our specialty lineup, which is where we plugged them in this year.

 

Backstage Series

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

 

 

Special Pale Ale Label Created for Christening of Gerald R. Ford Aircraft Carrier

We’ve created a special label for our Pale Ale in honor of the christening of the Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) aircraft carrier, named for the 38th President of the United States who grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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During the week of November 3, this special label Pale Ale will be on draft, along with commemorative postcards, at the following locations in the Newport News area:

It will also be served at a private christening dinner on Friday, November 8.

The christening ceremony will be held on Saturday, November 9, at Newport News Shipbuilding, where the ship is being constructed. President Gerald R. Ford’s daughter, Susan Ford Bales, will serve as the ship’s sponsor, performing the traditional honor of breaking a bottle of American sparkling wine across the ship’s bow during the ceremony.

The dry dock in which CVN 78 was structurally built was flooded, preparing the ship for launch in the days following her christening. The christening ceremony will be held in front of the ship’s bow.

Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) is the first of a new class of aircraft carriers, the first new design since USS Nimitz, which was launched in 1972. Redesigned from keel to mast, the ship will be able to launch aircraft more quickly while costing less to maintain, saving the Navy a projected $4 billion over the ship’s 50-year life span.

“When we got the call from the folks at Newport News Shipbuilding, asking us to make a special label for this event, it was one of those things that gives you goosebumps,” said Founders Co-Founder Dave Engbers. “Gerald R. Ford is a hugely important figure in the Grand Rapids community. We make beer. We aren’t in the business of running a nation—nothing near it. But we’ve done what we can to build our company on values exemplified by Ford, particularly integrity and authenticity. It’s such an honor to be involved in this christening.”

More information can be found online at www.thefordclass.com. The christening ceremony will also be streamed online at that site for those who want to watch from home.

 

Sweet Repute Taproom Release Details

Tickets for Sweet Repute, our next Backstage Series release, go on sale on Saturday, November 16, 2013 at 11am EST!

Sweet Repute is a high-gravity wheat wine aged in maple syrup bourbon barrels, and is the 8th installment in our popular Backstage Series. Like others in our Backstage Series, Sweet Repute is available in 750mL bottles. Tickets will be available via Eventbrite at founderssweetrepute.eventbrite.com.

 

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Like the previous Backstage Series releases of Doom and Mango Magnifico, bottles of Sweet Repute will be available via a controlled, four day, pre-ticketed release. Tickets are $5.

Here’s some info on Sweet Repute:

Our brewing team painstakingly choreographed each layer of this beer’s characteristics, starting with a healthy wheat and roasted malt base and adding clean, fragrant hops. It’s one hundred percent barrel-aged in maple syrup bourbon barrels and bourbon barrels over the course of sixteen months, then blended using carefully calculated ratios for the ultimate final product. The resulting 13% ABV liquid pours a bright warm russet with a stubborn ivory head and an intoxicatingly sweet nutty aroma. We put Sweet Repute in a larger bottle with sharing in mind.

“We’re excited about this one,” said Co-Founder and Vice President of Brand & Education Dave Engbers. “Every sample we’ve pulled from the barrels down in the caves has been incredible.”

Sweet Repute will join the ranks of our world-class barrel-aged beers, such as Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS), Canadian Breakfast Stout (CBS), Backwoods Bastard, Curmudgeon’s Better Half and many, many more taproom-only ales.

 

Each ticket reserves the right to purchase two bottles of Sweet Repute, at $18 each (tax and deposit are included), ONLY on the date specified on your ticket. All reserved bottles are to be picked up at the brewery in Grand Rapids, MI from our Company Store during pick-up hours (11am EST-11pm EST).  

You may buy ONE ticket for any of the following days:

~DAY #1. Wednesday, December 4, 2013

~DAY #2. Thursday, December 5, 2013

~DAY #3. Friday, December 6, 2013

~DAY #4. Saturday, December 7, 2013

 

To purchase tickets, head to: founderssweetrepute.eventbrite.com/

By purchasing this ticket, you are securing your rights to purchase up to (2) bottles of Sweet Repute ONLY on the specific date listed on your ticket. All ticket holders for any given date are required to make their purchase only ON THE DATE listed on their ticket, IN PERSON, or will forfeit the opportunity. Refunds will not be issued for unused or lost tickets.

Any allotted bottles that are not purchased on their given date will be added to the reserve inventory, which will be released at a future unannounced date in our taproom.

All ticket holders are required to have their ticket, as well as a valid ID, as recognized by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission, and will be required to pay for (via cash or credit card) and pick-up their product, both in person, on that given day.

Due to overwhelming feedback regarding the ability to reduce scalping, we have returned to the “Name Specific” tickets. Each ticket is assigned to the purchaser and CANNOT BE TRANSFERRED - NO EXCEPTIONS. If you are not sure if you are able to complete your purchase on the date specified on your ticket, do not purchase a ticket.

All proceeds from ticket sales will be contributed to the Grand Rapids White Water initiative.

 

***THERE IS A LIMIT OF ONE TICKET PER PERSON FOR THE ENTIRE FOUR DAY RELEASE. ANY TICKETS ORDERED WITH DUPLICATE ATTENDEE NAMES WILL NOT BE HONORED AND REFUNDS WILL NOT BE OFFERED***

IMPORTANT:  ALL TICKETS ARE NAME AND DATE SPECIFIC AND ARE NON-TRANSFERRABLE. NO EXCEPTIONS WHATSOEVER. PLEASE DON’T ASK!

 

Distribution in Kansas City, KS; Lincoln & Omaha, NE, Starting December 2013

We’re expanding our distribution territory to include greater Kansas City, Kansas, represented by Central States Beverage; Omaha, Nebraska, represented by Premier-Midwest Beverage; and Lincoln, Nebraska, represented by K&Z Distributing. We plan to launch in these three metro areas beginning the week of December 2, 2013.

Kansas City, Omaha and Lincoln residents can expect to find our year-round and seasonal products, both in bottles and on draft, in the first shipment. (Read: These markets will not get shipments of Backwoods Bastard or Sweet Repute for the launch.) Specialty releases will follow our release schedule from there. Stay tuned for our 2014 availability calendar, to be announced next month.

Here’s a rough map of our distribution coverage in these two new states:

Founders_distromap_NE_KS_10.23.13

 

Check out our updated distribution map here:

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* = Founders does not have distribution in the entire state. Distribution coverage by state:

  • Alabama: Most of Northern Alabama and the Auburn area. Counties covered include the following: Cullman, Jefferson, Lee, Madison, Marshall, Morgan, Shelby, St. Clair, Tuscaloosa, Walker
  • Kansas: Greater Kansas City
  • Minnesota: Greater Minneapolis
  • Nebraska: Greater Lincoln and Omaha
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