Head over to the Pure Michigan blog to vote for a Pure Michigan beer that we’ll pour in our taproom during the month of July to celebrate Michigan Craft Beer Month. Now through Friday, May 3, you can vote on the beer style that you want to see available in our taproom: Vanilla Stout, Apple Ale or Wheat IPA. We haven’t brewed these beers before, and we’ll be ordering ingredients and brewing based on what all of you choose. Vote here!
A time lapse video of our north cellar expansion, which began in November 2012 and finished up at the beginning of this month. The video shows completion of an addition to the Founders cellar space both from outside of the building and from the interior, as well as adding new fermentation tanks and ripping down a wall in the packaging hall.
Videographer: Kevin “The Scientist” Cole
Music by Jason Heystek, Founders Brewing Co.’s Head Cellar Operator
ArtPrize, the radically open, international art competition, today announced that we have signed on as a premier leadership sponsor and will be the official brewery of ArtPrize for the next five years. The agreement will allow both us and ArtPrize to capitalize on our respective platforms and nationwide growth.
“We approached ArtPrize because we love this community and we love what the event has done for this city,” said Mike Stevens, co-founder and CEO of Founders Brewing Co. “Our taproom has been a venue since year one, so we anticipate ArtPrize, just like everyone else. We chose to increase our commitment this year and can’t wait to pair our world-class beer with the most engaging art event in the world.”
Elements of the partnership include offering Founders beer at all official ArtPrize events, signage, promotion, merchandise, specialized glassware and other specialized items during the 19-day event. Additionally, the brewery will be recognized as a major sponsor at all ArtPrize events, and will be featured on the ArtPrize promotional poster.
“ArtPrize is always open to new, strategic ways to partner with leading and emerging national brands. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome them as the exclusive brewery of ArtPrize,” said Daryn Kuipers, interim executive director for ArtPrize. “Both Founders and ArtPrize are two organizations that are defining Grand Rapids’ reemergence. Both organizations have heritage, values and roots in this community and will make an excellent partnership.”
With its mix of public voting and juried awards, ArtPrize explores the tension between the professional and populist in an epic conversation. The fifth edition of the popular art competition will take place Sept. 18 – Oct. 6, 2013. Artist Registration for the 2013 event will open on Monday, April 22.
We’re officially announcing Founders Fest 2013, which will take place on the streets of downtown Grand Rapids once again, from 3-11pm on Saturday, June 22. This is our sixth annual outdoor festival celebrating two of the things we love most: beer and music. We’re expecting 6000 or more beer and music lovers to gather on Grandville Avenue between Cherry and Bartlett for the festivities.
“Founders Fest is our biggest party of the year,” said Mark Dorich, Festival Coordinator and Founders Director of Retail Operations. “It’s always a great time celebrating with our community, and we’re really excited about this year’s music lineup.”
A wide range of musical talent will be rocking out at this year’s Founders Fest, with national act G. LOVE & SPECIAL SAUCE coming in from Philadelphia, PA, with some hip hop/blues to headline. Other performers include IVAN NEVILLE’S DUMPSTAPHUNK with funk from New Orleans; MAN MAN, also of Philadelphia; electro rock from Founders taproom repeat performers ROSTER MCCABE of Minneapolis; horn-driven tour de force, Chicago’s LOWDOWN BRASS BAND; and bluegrass sweethearts LINDSAY LOU & THE FLATBELLYS of Ann Arbor. Hometown crowd favorites ALEXIS join local Latin rock crew CABILDO, and a super-group of Founders employees return as the FBC ALL-STARS to round out the entertainment line-up.
This year’s event will again feature local food vendors as well as a Local Artists Row, which showcases the various works of some of the area’s finest artists and designers. There will be other strolling and surprise entertainers sprinkled throughout the day. And, of course, there will be plenty of beer available, including our year-round offerings and quite a few taproom one-offs. The entire festival will be outdoors on the street; the indoor taproom space will be closed for the day.
Founders Fest is a celebratory “thank you” to Grand Rapids and West Michigan for getting us to where we are today. We’ve been a part of the Grand Rapids scene since 1997 and have grown our brewing tradition from modest beginnings to being one of the highest rated breweries in the world.
“We look forward to Founders Fest every year,” said Co-Founder & CEO Mike Stevens. “Beer and music bring people together, and we love being able to put on an event that does just that. It gives us the opportunity to get our family, friends and community together for a day so that we can toast to all of them.”
We’re also partnering with The High Five Program, a local community organization that assures the prevention of litter and significant reduction of waste streams at large-scale events, for the second year. With help from High Five, we managed to achieve over 90% waste diversion last year and hope to beat that rate this year.
Guarantee yourself entry to Founders Fest 2013 and save a little cash with advance pre-sale tickets:
Discounted advance ticket sales will again be available starting Friday, April 19, at the Founders taproom, as well as online, via http://foundersfest2013.eventbrite.com/. The event is limited to ages 21 and older.
If you’ve visited (or driven by) our taproom lately, you’ll notice that construction on the next stage of our expansion is currently underway. We’re excited to be able to share with you some renderings of what our new space will look like.
Please note that these are just renderings. Details, such as surfaces and furniture, may change. But this should give you a good sense of the space. Also, you can click on images to see them at a larger scale.
Here is roughly what our beer garden will look like when it opens this fall, from the ground level looking toward the south:
The same space, from a higher angle:
Lastly, the deck you see in the rendering above is connected to a space that will become our event rental and education center (more details to come):
Our taproom will remain open throughout our construction with plenty of world-class beers and delicious sandwiches for you to enjoy. We’re excited to share this space with Grand Rapids and with all of you this fall.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) announced their Brewers for Clean Water initiative today. We are actively in support of this program. Please see this official media release from the NRDC for more information:
CHICAGO (April 9, 2013) – It takes great water to make great beer, so the Natural Resources Defense Council is teaming up with nearly two dozen nationally-respected craft brewers to launch a campaign today advocating for strong clean water policies. The craft brewing industry—makers of beloved brews, small business entrepreneurs and water quality experts—has a lot to say about maintaining high standards under the federal Clean Water Act. The new “Brewers for Clean Water” campaign will help translate the amazing economic growth of the craft brewing sector into a powerful voice on behalf of clean water in the United States.
“Whether brewers are creating ales, pilsners, porters, wits, or stouts, one ingredient must go into every batch: clean water,” said NRDC Water Program Senior Policy Analyst Karen Hobbs. “Craft brewers need clean water to make great beer. This campaign is all about amplifying their voices in support of the most important protection for their most important ingredient, the Clean Water Act.”
Few industries depend on clean water as much as craft brewers. While hops and malt can be sourced elsewhere, breweries are reliant on their local water supplies. Whether drawn from lakes, rivers, groundwater or a local water system, breweries rely on the protections of the Clean Water Act to ensure the quality and availability of their main ingredient (beer is 90% water).
In recent years, attempts to roll back Clean Water Act protections have endangered not just the most important ingredient for craft beer, but also public health and resources for a wide range of industries. In joining the campaign, the brewers have taken NRDC’s “Clean Water Pledge,” acknowledging the importance of clean water and clean water safeguards. These issues are all the more important today, with the public awaiting improved Clean Water Act protections for American streams, wetlands and headwaters (which have a significant impact on larger water sources downstream). These reforms are due soon in Washington, DC.
The reach of the craft brewing industry has grown immensely in recent years. With more breweries than any other time in American history, the multi-billion dollar industry brings a compelling business voice to clean water issues. Seen as rock stars responsible for beloved brews in some circles and local employers in others, craft brewers are closely tied to their communities with a very real understanding of the impacts bad policy can have on regional water sources. While the participants in the growing “Brewers for Clean Water” campaign include brewing operations large and small, all have demonstrated a commitment to sustainability in their operations and beer development. Campaign members include:
- Allagash Brewing Company (Portland, ME)
- Arbor Brewing Company (Ann Arbor, MI)
- Arcadia Brewing Company (Battle Creek, MI)
- Brewery Vivant (Grand Rapids, MI)
- Central Waters Brewing Company (Amherst, WI)
- Cranker’s Brewery (Big Rapids, MI)
- DryHop Brewers (Chicago, IL)
- Finch’s Beer Company (Chicago, IL)
- Flossmoor Station Restaurant and Brewery (Flossmoor, IL)
- Founders Brewing Company (Grand Rapids, MI)
- Goose Island Beer Company (Chicago, IL)
- Half Acre Beer Company (Chicago, IL)
- Harmony Brewing Company (Grand Rapids, MI)
- Lakefront Brewery, Inc. (Milwaukee, WI)
- New Belgium Brewing Company (Fort Collins, CO)
- Revolution Brewing (Chicago, IL)
- Right Brain Brewery (Traverse City, MI)
- Short’s Brewing Company (Bellaire, MI)
- Sierra Nevada Brewing Company (Chico, CA)
- Temperance Beer Company (Evanston, IL)
- Wild Onion Brewing Company (Barrington, IL)
“The Brewers for Clean Water campaign is a beautiful thing because it allows something so simple as a glass of beer to be a speaking point for the importance of water,” said Ian Hughes, Environmental and Safety Coordinator for Goose Island Beer Company.
“Being surrounded by the Great Lakes here in Michigan, water is something that we’ve always cherished, and we never take it for granted,” said Dave Engbers, co-founder and vice president of brand and education for Founders Brewing Company. “Water is life—nothing exists without water.”
“As we continue to see the craft beer segment grow, we as brewers owe it to the communities we live, work and play in to be mindful of protecting our waterways as we strive for growth that is environmentally and socially responsible now and down the road,” said Mat Trogner, New Media Designer at Allagash Brewing Company.
- More about the NRDC’s “Brewers for Clean Water” campaign, including video interviews from participating breweries, can be found at www.nrdc.org/brewers
- NRDC’s Karen Hobbs blog on the campaign can be found at http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/khobbs/cheers_to_brewers_for_clean_wa.html
Also, please check out this video of Co-Founder Dave Engbers explaining why clean water is important to the Founders Family:
We’ve [finally] announced today that we are expanding our distribution territory to include the Sunshine State, with Brown Distributing slated to represent our brand across the entire state of Florida (yes, the whole state) beginning in May.
“Florida has grown tremendously in terms of craft beer savvy and awareness in the past couple of years,” said Co-Founder & CEO Mike Stevens. “Beer enthusiasts have raised the bar in the state, and we’re looking forward to getting our beer to them.”
“It is their radical approach to brewing and passion for quality that makes us so fired up to bring Founders products to Florida,” said Ian Salzberg, Senior Marketing Manager with Brown Distributing.
Floridians can expect to find Founders’ year-round and seasonal products, both in bottles and on draft, in the first shipment, which is expected to land in mid- to late May. Specialty releases will follow the brewery’s release schedule from there.
We are excited to announce that the following locations will be tapping the first kegs of Founders beer to be poured in Texas during the week of April 8 (grouped by metro area):
- Flying Saucer
- Easy Tiger
- Draught House
- Whip In
- Whole Foods Lamar (6th and Lamar)
- Red’s Porch
- Brew Exchange
- 24 Diner
- The Dog & Duck Pub
- The Grackle
- Meddlesome Moth
- Flying Saucer Addison
- Flying Saucer The Lake – Garland
- The Common Table
- The Libertine
- Whiskey Cake
- World of Beer – SMU
- World of Beer – Arlington
- Flying Saucer
- The T & P Tavern
- Zio Carlo Magnolia Brewpub
- Hooligans Pub
- Mellow Mushroom – Southlake
- Rodeo Goat
- Ron’s Corner Tavern
- The Live Oak Music Hall & Lounge
- Flying Saucer Houston – Downtown
- Flying Saucer Sugarland
- The Hay Merchant
- Petrol Station
- Nobi Public House
Please note that more bars and restaurants in Texas may add Founders beer to their lineups after the launch. These are simply the first confirmed retailers to carry our beer. Also, bottled beer will be coming to Texas in a month or so.
We’ve just announced that we plan to release our craft beer in cans for the first time in our fifteen-year history. We will put our warm weather seasonal, All Day IPA, in 12 oz. cans that will be available in 12-packs across our distribution footprint this summer.
“Especially in our recreational home state of Michigan, cans are a very functional package,” said Co-Founder & CEO Mike Stevens. “It means people will be able to enjoy our beer at golf courses, marinas and while hiking or camping. And we think All Day IPA works in a can particularly well.”
We did extensive research to find a canning line that delivers a sealed container meeting the same quality standard as what comes off our bottling line every day.
“For this new canning line, we turned to the same manufacturer of our bottling line, world beverage industry leader, Krones,” said Vice President of Operations Brad Stevenson. “We are 100% confident in both this line and this package.”
All Day IPA will be the only Founders beer in cans to start. More Founders products may make their way into cans in the future.
**Please note that the above image is a comp of what this can will look like. The actual can may vary a bit from what is depicted. **
Reminder: The 5th annual Barry-Roubaix Killer Gravel Road Race is set for Saturday, March 23! You can find more details about it on an older blog post here. Be sure to note that our beer will be poured at the official after party on the streets of Hastings, Michigan, for racers and non-racers alike.
Check out this fun video of the Founders bike team training for the race—and, of course, enjoying some beers after their riding session:
Our Beers Will Be Available in the Lone Star State in April 2013
We’ve partnered with Ben E. Keith Beverage Distributors to offer our beers across the Lone Star State beginning April 2013. Texans will now have the opportunity to enjoy Founders ales without having to leave the state.
“Texas is an up-and-coming market, and we’re impressed with what we’re seeing there,” said Co-Founder & CEO Mike Stevens. “We’ve been getting more and more inquiries from Founders fans in Texas over the past couple of years. The Ben E. Keith team is dedicated to the craft beer market and is helping introduce complex brands like ours to eager consumers who are hungry for them. Besides, we’ve always wanted to get Founders beer to Willie Nelson’s home state. Now the time is right.”
“We are delighted to partner with Founders,” said Specialty Division Manager at Ben E. Keith Kevin Nettleton, “and are eager to distribute their esteemed beers in Texas.”
We plan to include all of our year-round and seasonal ales as draft product in the first shipment for an April 8 release. Bottled beers will be released in May, and specialty releases will be available following the release schedule from there.
About Ben E. Keith Beverages
Ben E. Keith Company, established in 1906, began selling Anheuser-Busch products in 1933. Today, Ben E. Keith Company’s Beverage division is the third largest independent beer wholesaler in the country. The company also distributes import beers, craft beers, wine products and nonalcoholic beverages. With fourteen Sales & Distribution Centers in Texas including Abilene, Austin, Brownwood, Commerce, Dallas, Denton, El Paso, Ft. Worth, Houston, Kerrville, Llano, Palestine, San Antonio, and Waco, the company operates throughout the state of Texas. For more information, please visit www.BenEKeith.com/beverage.
We announced the second phase of our $26 million expansion today, to include more equipment; an educational facility; additional offices; enlarged taproom, deli and company store; and an outdoor beer garden. The facility will expand entirely on our current site, at 235 Grandville Ave SW, extending our building’s footprint by approximately 5,500 square feet. We expect to break ground in April.
Most of the capital investment (around 85%) is earmarked for brewing, fermenting and packaging equipment, taking our annual capacity up to about 320,000 bbl. Upgrades will be made to systems and software, and a focus will be put on energy efficient investments, including initiatives such as heating the new office building off of a chiller on our north cellar.
We also plan to add 52 jobs over the next three years, ranging from managerial to operations to service positions, generated by this expansion.
Our education program is an extension of the brewery tours that we launched in January. “Our industry continues to flourish and, as a leader in the industry, we feel that we have a responsibility to educate our staff, wholesaler and retailer partners and beer enthusiasts,” said Dave Engbers, Co-Founder and Vice President of Brand & Education. Eventually, we plan to offer classes for consumers interested in learning more about the brewing process, how to identify different styles of beer and advanced beer education.
“There’s no question that beer tourism is becoming a bigger and bigger draw all the time,” said Engbers. “And Grand Rapids has become even more of a destination since we were named Beer City USA. We want to continue our support of the industry in our hometown by investing in it.”
The revamped retail space and new educational facility should be in use this fall. Please stay tuned for more updates to come.