Year-Round Arsenal Untappd Badge


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



Black Rye Is Back Untappd Badge


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.


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


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


We’re Bringing Blushing Monk Back in March 2015

Blushing_Monk_bottle_2015_webWe plan to re-release Blushing Monk, a decadent Belgian raspberry ale, in March 2015 to mark the twelfth installment in our popular Backstage Series. Blushing Monk was the original Founders Backstage Series beer, released in July 2011; prior to that, it hadn’t been bottled for four years. Like all of Founders’ Backstage Series beers, Blushing Monk will be sold in 750mL bottles, with a suggested retail price of $16.99 per bottle.

Blushing Monk is brewed with a ridiculous amount of raspberries and with a Belgian yeast strain that keeps our head cellar operator from sleeping for a week. It pours a stunning deep berry red and, at 9.2% ABV, has a surprising kick. The perfect dessert beer, it can be enjoyed on its own or paired with fresh cheeses, fruit, cakes and more.

“People keep asking us if we’re going to bring any of our Backstage Series beers back—and now we have,” said Co-Founder and President Dave Engbers. “It seems as though we brew Blushing Monk on a four-year cycle. Our cellar crew hates brewing it because it’s brewed with a different yeast strain from all of our other beers, but we think it’s worth the sleepless nights. It’s an absolutely gorgeous beer.”

Founders’ Backstage Series is made up of boundary-pushing, experimental beers. The intent of the series is to take the diehard Founders fan experience to a wider audience—though all of the beers are released in limited batches. Since its introduction in the summer of 2011, Founders’ Backstage Series beers have quickly become some of the most sought-after releases in the industry.

Blushing Monk will be released in limited quantities across our distribution footprint beginning on Monday, March 2, and will be available at the brewery’s taproom and in the greater West Michigan area the week prior. This will be the first Backstage Series release from Founders in 2015; beer enthusiasts should expect two more releases from Founders later in the year.


Reintroducing Black Rye in 2015

We plan to reintroduce Black Rye, a dry-hopped dark ale brewed with copious amounts of rye malt, as a seasonal release in January 2015 with availability through March. Black Rye will be available throughout our distribution footprint both on draft and in 12 oz. bottles with a suggested retail price of $10.99 per 4-pack.

Founders Black Rye bottle shot

We brewed Black Rye for the first time in 2006—it was available for less than a year, but it developed a cult following. And we decided to reach into our recipe vault and bring it back for 2015.

“Because of how quickly the craft beer enthusiast community has grown, most people drinking craft beer and even Founders beer today have never tried Black Rye,” said Dave Engbers, co-founder and vice president of brand and education. “Officially, this beer is a re-introduction. But for most, it’s a new Founders beer.”

Black Rye is a perfectly balanced blend of German- and American-grown hops, premium 2-row barley and heavily kilned rye and wheat malts. It’s 7.5% ABV and measures at 78 IBUs. There’s no category that can contain it—it’s a true Founders original.

“Black Rye is one of those beers that we kept coming back to in our conversations about new releases,” said Jeremy Kosmicki, Founders’ brewmaster. “There are so many craft beers out there, but this one has its place because there’s nothing else quite like it.”

Black Rye will kick off our seasonal calendar in 2015, with availability from roughly January to March, dependent on distributor shipments. It will be released in our taproom on draft and in bottles as of January 2015. Our other seasonal releases in 2015 will be Rubaeus, from April to September, and Breakfast Stout, from October to December. Our full 2015 availability calendar will be announced later this year.


Thanks to Beer Enthusiasts, We’re Growing!

We announced today that we plan to expand our brewery production facility at our current site, 235 Grandville Ave SW. Pending approvals, we expect to break ground on this expansion in late October.

The expansion will take place in two phases: the first phase will involve the addition of approximately 37,000 square feet comprised of space for new production equipment, including a new 300 barrel (bbl) brew house and new fermentation tanks, as well as additional offices. The second phase will add approximately 20,000 square feet of space for more fermenting and packaging equipment.

Founders cellar from the catwalk

“The focus of this expansion is to increase the capacity of our production facility—to brew more beer right here in Grand Rapids, Michigan,” said Mike Stevens, our co-founder and CEO. “Because of increasing demand from the growing beer enthusiast community, we aren’t able to fill orders right now. We’re expanding because we’re committed to this city, this state and the craft beer community.”

After both phases of the expansion, the Founders production facility will have the footprint for 900,000 bbl of capacity, which will be achieved incrementally through the addition of more fermenters and updated packaging equipment. We expect to end 2014 having shipped 200,000 bbl of beer and to ship 300,000 bbl in 2015.

We also plan to add 72 jobs over three years, ranging from managerial to operations to sales positions, generated by this expansion.


Big Lushious Will Be Released for the Holidays

We plan to introduce Big Lushious, a chocolate raspberry stout, this December to mark the eleventh installment in our Backstage Series. Like all of our Backstage Series beers, Big Lushious will be sold in 750mL bottles, with a suggested retail price of $14.99 per bottle.

big_lushious_bottle_hi_rezBig Lushious is a deep, rich stout that’s packed with flavor: roasted malts, all-natural dark chocolate, a subtle suggestion of burnt coffee grounds and a kiss of tart raspberries. At 7.8% ABV, it’s big, sumptuous and extravagant, but also balanced.

“We thought Big Lushious would make a great release for the holidays,” said Co-Founder and Vice President of Brand & Education Dave Engbers. “It’s a luxurious beer for us. It’s meant for bringing to parties and is perfect for sharing with friends and family after a feast.”

Big Lushious will be released in limited quantities across our distribution footprint beginning on Monday, November 24 (note: updated from Monday, December 1, as previously announced), and will be available at our taproom that same week. This will be our last Backstage Series release in 2014—look for more in 2015.


Who’s on the Dissenter Label?

Some of you have asked us the story behind the Dissenter label, and it’s a pretty cool one, so we figured we ought to share it with you all. Here’s the story, as told by our graphic designer, Brett Haberkorn:

The man on the label is my father-in-law, who was the drummer for a band called “Joey Greco and the In Crowd” in the early ’60s in New York City. Coming back from a gig one night, they were in a car accident, and my father-in-law was ejected from the car and broke his leg. The band found a drummer to fill in until his leg healed. At the same time, an upstart band was looking for a drummer and wanted to check out Joey Greco and the in Crowd for a potential drummer to recruit. Instead of seeing my father in-law, they saw the fill-in drummer, whose name was Peter Criscuola, or “Peter Criss”. The upstart band picked up Peter and eventually formed the band KISS. So, if my father-in-law didn’t break his leg, he could have been the drummer for KISS (we like to think). On top of all that, he also fits the Dissenter definition in character and in his stance. His back is turned to you in a defiant gesture, and he doesn’t care what you think. My father-in-law has gone against the norm his whole life and seems to fit the Dissenter character.


Founders Dissenter Imperial IPL Label



Fall Releases


Fall is around the corner, and it’s a good time for beer. We’ll be releasing the following four beers over the next couple of months, so be on the lookout.

  • Mosaic Promise is our single malt, single hop beer brewed in honor of ArtPrize. It will be released starting on September 13 in Michigan, Wisconsin, greater New York City and greater Chicago. Read more.
  • Breakfast Stout‘s release harks the beginning of Stout Season. An oatmeal stout brewed with coffee and chocolates, it will be released in late September or early October, depending on distributor shipments in your area. Read more.
  • Dark Penance is an Imperial Black IPA and is the newest addition to our portfolio of world-class IPAs. It’s the first beer to be added to our lineup since All Day IPA in spring 2012. It will be available across our footprint starting on October 1. Read more.
  • Harvest Ale is a limited release wet-hopped ale that celebrates the hop harvest. Its release is dependent on when we get our delivery of whole-cone hops into the brewery–it will likely be available sometime in October. Read more.

Hop 2 It Untappd Badge

We’re teaming up with Untappd to offer the Hop 2 It badge for the month of August!

Badge Description

Interpretations of IPAs range far and wide—and we’ve interpreted the style in many ways. Our IPAs vary in taste, strength and color, from the crimson of Red’s Rye IPA (draft only right now) to the golden straw of Double Trouble. Try a couple and see which interpretation suits you best.

Founders Hop 2 It Untappd badge

To unlock this badge, check-in to at least two (2) different IPAs from Founders, listed below, during the month of August.

Also, don’t forget that IPA Day is on August 7 this year–it would be a good day to unlock your Hop 2 It badge!

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