KBS 2013 On-Site Release Response

We’d like to apologize to all of you that had difficulties with purchasing tickets for our on-site KBS release this past Saturday.

Please see this statement from Brown Paper Tickets in regards to their server issues:

 

Brown Paper Tickets would like to apologize to Founders Brewing Company, and its customers, for a 25-minute delay in our ability to sell tickets to the 2013 KBS bottle release event. We have now taken protective measures to ensure that our customers are not inconvenienced in the future. The error was rooted in our communications and not in our servers—in other words human error. It is our business and passion to get these things right and we failed. If it isn’t understood already, Brown Paper Tickets stands behind Founders Brewing Company and their events, but in front of any criticism for the KBS online ticket sale. It was our bad and we’ll not let it happen again.

In addition to the proceeds from the tickets sales already donated by Founders Brewing, Brown Paper Tickets is making a $2,000 donation to the Grand Rapids White Water initiative.  

Brown Paper Tickets fully supports companies like Founders Brewing who have created a bottle release method very much in line with our Not-Just-For-Business ethos of giving and growing communities as a regular part of doing business.

Again, our most heartfelt apology for this isolated incident, and as always, we welcome your personal call.

 

In our planning for next year’s on-site release, we’ll work to ensure that the process is as efficient, fair and enjoyable for everyone involved as possible. We plan to do continued research to select a ticketing partner and release process that works best for us.

As we’ve said before, we’d like to thank all of you for your support, loyalty and appreciation for good craft beer—it’s humbling to know how many of you out there are passionate about what we’re doing here in Grand Rapids. Furthermore, as many of you are aware, due to the barrel-aging process, KBS will always be a limited release product. We’re happy to have been able to make significantly more this year compared to last, but we understand that we will likely never get supply up enough to match demand for this product. Lastly, please keep in mind that KBS will be distributed in limited quantities across our 23-state footprint beginning on Monday, April 1.

We’re a small brewery—we appreciate all of your feedback, but we ask for your patience in our responses to it. And if you have any questions in regards to ticket order confirmation or shopping cart issues, please direct them to Brown Paper Tickets at 800-838-3006.

 

–Dave Engbers and Mike Stevens, co-founders

 

Doom Is Our Next Backstage Series Release

**Updated 3/4/13**

We plan to introduce Doom, a bourbon-barrel-aged Imperial IPA, this April to mark the sixth installment in our Backstage Series. Like all Backstage Series beers, Doom will be sold in 750mL bottles. It has a suggested retail price of $12.99 per bottle.

Doom is unleashed when our award-winning specialty Imperial IPA, Double Trouble, is aged in bourbon barrels for four months to create a distinct flavor experience. So, while Double Trouble is brewed to turn your world upside down, Doom is brewed to tear it apart: pungent hops conspire with boozy bourbon notes to send your senses spinning.

Known as “Hand of Doom” when originally brewed for our taproom, this 10% ABV beer is a unique addition to our barrel-aged repertoire, which has mostly consisted of malt-forward beers such as Backwoods Bastard and Kentucky Breakfast Stout.

“Doom is one of those beers that we’ve talked about releasing ever since we started the Backstage Series,” says Co-Founder and Vice President of Brand & Education Dave Engbers. “It’s hop heavy. It’s barrel-aged. It’s unapologetic. It’s the definition of a Founders beer.”

Doom will be released in limited quantities across our distribution footprint beginning on Monday, April 22. On-site, Doom will be a pre-ticketed, six-day release, running from Sunday, April 14 (DAY #1), through Friday, April 19 (DAY #6). Please note this update: These tickets will now go on-sale via a new Ticketing Partner, EventBrite. The on-sale date has been pushed back one week, to Saturday, March 16, 2013, at 11:00AM (EST). Please bookmark this page for the release day: http://foundersbrewingdoom.eventbrite.com/. There will be a limit of one ticket per person, with each ticket valid for the purchase of TWO bottles of Doom (at $13 each), only on the specific release date listed on the ticket.

We expect to release two more Backstage Series beers in 2013.

Also, here is our updated availability calendar, with Doom plugged into its April release window:

 

Barry-Roubaix Killer Gravel Road Race & After Party

Founders and Barry-Roubaix logos

We are going to partner with Kisscross Events once again to host the annual Barry-Roubaix bicycle race, an event pitting thousands of bikers against gravel, rocks, sand and mud, and possible snow and ice in a kickoff to the racing season in Michigan. The fifth annual Barry-Roubaix, named after the classic Paris-Roubaix race in France, will begin and end in downtown Hastings, Mich., on March 23. Registration is currently open at www.barry-roubaix.com.

Sager Road from 2012 Barry-Roubaix RaceThe popular event continues to grow each year, forcing a move this year from its former location at Gun Lake State Park to downtown Hastings. Last year nearly 1,600 cyclists participated.

The Barry-Roubaix encourages racers of all levels and of any age by offering four racing categories, including the following:

  • The Cushe Chiller, 22 miles ($40 registration per rider)
  • The Hammer Nutrition Thriller, 36 miles ($40 registration per rider)
  • The 616 Fat Bike category, 36 miles ($40 registration per rider)
  • The Velocity Killer, 62 miles ($50 registration per rider)

As title sponsor of the event, we are going to host a typical (killer) after party celebration kicking off at 11 a.m. with food, music, beer and more in the streets of downtown Hastings. The Founders Brewing Co. after party is open to racers, their friends, families and anyone else who would like to join in the celebration.

Specialized Bikes, Freewheeler Bike Shop, Greenware and Delta Subaru are presenting sponsors of this year’s race.

For more information, please visit www.barry-roubaix.com or contact Rick Plite, Race Director, at 616.863.3291 or rickplite [at] gmail [dot] com.

 

Founders KBS Release 2013

Founders KBS release 2013 will begin with a four-day, pre-ticketed, on-site bottle release beginning on Wednesday, March 27, prior to being released across our distribution footprint on April 1.

Dates for the taproom bottle release are as follows:

  • Day #1: Wednesday, March 27, 2013, 11am-9pm
  • Day #2: Thursday, March 28, 2013, 11am-9pm
  • Day #3: Friday, March 29, 2013, 11am-9pm
  • Day #4: Saturday, March 30, 2013, 11am-9pm

Tickets for all four release dates will be available beginning at 11:00am EST on Saturday, February 16, via brownpapertickets.com on a first-come, first-served basis. There is a limit of one ticket per person. Tickets are non-refundable, and proceeds from the $5 purchase price will be donated to Grand Rapids Whitewater. Your ticket, along with a valid government-issued photo ID, gets you the opportunity to purchase KBS only on the date listed on your ticket. A strict maximum limit of 12 bottles per person applies. KBS is $4.75 per bottle, $19 per 4-pack, and $57 for 12 bottles (three 4-packs). Bottles can ONLY be picked up on the day listed on the ticket from our Company Store during regular business hours (see above).

KBS in a bottle and poured onto a glass, on a barrel in the gypsum mines beneath Grand Rapids

‘KBS Week’ culminates in an all-day draft release party in our taproom on Saturday, March 30. The party takes place from 11am-2am, is strictly 21+ and is free-of-charge. March 30 marks the first day KBS will be available on tap. The party stars the draft release of KBS, and free live entertainment will be offered in the evening.

 

2013 Availability Calendar

We are excited to announce quite a few changes that we’ve made to the Founders brand calendar for 2013. Our new calendar is summarized graphically here:

 

Founders 2013 Availability Calendar

 

Red’s Rye PA

Most noticeably, Red’s Rye PA will only be available on draft year-round, beginning in March or April of 2013. Our bottle release will be limited to a specialty, four-pack release in September and October. The final Red’s Rye PA six-pack batch will ship in February 2013.

This was a hard decision for us to make. We love Red’s Rye PA, and we do not want to limit its availability, but it’s the right thing to do for the sake of the quality of the beer. Red’s Rye PA carries a shelf life of 90 days, which means it is tied with Harvest Ale for having the shortest shelf life of any of our brands. Extensive lab analyses have been conducted, and they have validated this shelf life again and again.

This limited shelf life holds true for Red’s Rye PA in bottles and Red’s Rye PA in kegs; however, the out-of-code Red’s Rye PA that we’ve found in the market has overwhelmingly been bottles. This is mostly because kegs have a faster sell-through rate, but draft has other built-in shelf life benefits such as constant refrigeration and a totally concealed container that protects the beer from light exposure.

By shortening Red’s Rye PA’s period of availability, we alleviate shelf life concerns due to the shorter window of availability. Specialty beers tend to have a much faster sell-through rate than seasonal and year-round beers.

We aren’t taking this decision lightly. We discussed modifying the Red’s Rye PA recipe to extend the shelf life, and researched it for some time, but it simply wouldn’t be the same beer. As difficult as this is, we aren’t willing to compromise our recipe and a beer that we believe in just to get it on the shelves longer.

Finally, by moving Red’s Rye PA into the specialty category, it will be moved from a six-pack to a four-pack package, and the price per bottle will increase. Red’s Rye PA has always been an expensive beer for us to make; its cost is more in-line with our specialty beers, but we blended  our margins for years to try to make it work. In the end, we’ve had to accept that this is the right thing to do for one of our greatest beers. As is always the case at Founders, producing quality beer comes ahead of concerns about profits.

 

Seasonal Lineup: Two Seasons, Six-Packs

In 2013, Founders will offer two seasonals: Breakfast Stout (October through February) and All Day IPA (March through September). Both of these beers will be available in six-packs and on draft. We have hop contracts in place that will allow us to brew enough All Day IPA to ship it out to all of our markets for a retail launch on March 1, and we couldn’t be more eager to share this beer with even more people than in 2012, when we had a limited release. And, yes, if you didn’t catch that, we are going to move Breakfast Stout from a four-pack to a six-pack when it is released again in October 2013, and it will maintain the same suggested retail price of $9.99. [UPDATE: As of August 2013, we made the decision to keep Breakfast Stout in a 4-pack after having switched All Day IPA into our year-round lineup and with an eye out for blended margins with our 2014 seasonal offerings. Stay tuned for the 2014 calendar.]

 

Specialty Updates

Double Trouble will be moving to our specialty lineup, with four-pack and draft availability in May and June.

Next, we have swapped out Cerise in our lineup with a re-release of Rübæus, our raspberry ale that hasn’t been released since 2008. This is a bittersweet change (pun intended). It’s hard to say goodbye to Cerise, but the cherry crop in Michigan this year was devastated and we had little choice. On the other hand, Rübæus is a beautiful beer and is one that we’ve been asked to bring back year after year since we retired it. Rübæus will join our specialty four-pack lineup for a July and August release.

Moving along, you may also notice that we have extended the availability of many of our long-standing specialty beers to two months rather than a one-time release. Our increased capacity has allowed and will allow us to make much more Imperial Stout, Curmudgeon Old Ale and Backwoods Bastard than we have in the past. We are going to do what we can to make each of these beers available for the two full months that are listed on the calendar above, though Backwoods Bastard availability will remain somewhat limited because of the barrel-aging process. KBS, Devil Dancer and Harvest Ale will continue to be small batch releases because of the cost and production constraints of these beers. KBS has moved from a March release to an April release to fit in with our updated calendar. More details on the KBS release will be announced soon.

 

In case that wasn’t enough for you, we may have some more additions up our sleeve for 2013. As we like to say, you never know what Founders is going to do next.

 

**Update as of 2/15/13: Please note that our 2013 calendar has changed a bit. You can find the most up-to-date version here.

 

Bolt Cutter Release Ticket Proceeds Go to Grand Rapids Whitewater

We announced yesterday that we are going to donate over $5,000 in proceeds from the sale of our 15th anniversary beer reservation tickets to Grand Rapids Whitewater (GRWW). As you may recall, we used a ticketed reservation system for people to reserve their bottles of Bolt Cutter for purchase during the week leading up to our 15th anniversary party, which took place on Saturday, November 17.

15th Anniversary Party in our Taproom

As longtime supporters of GRWW, we donated the initial $25,000 needed to secure a commitment from the Downtown Development Authority for an equal amount of money that was used to get the river revival project started.

“Founders is a wonderful partner. They have played a key role in helping us get where we are today,” said Chris Muller, co-founder of GRWW. “The money will be used to help pay for the costs as we enter Phase II of our study.” Click here to read more about Phase I.

Here’s a depiction of how restoring the rapids to the Grand River will change the landscape of Grand Rapids (the top photo is the existing landscape and the bottom photo is a rendering of what the river would look like after GRWW is finished restoring the rapids):

 

Our President and CEO Mike Stevens currently sits on the board of GRWW, and we also give taproom customers the opportunity to donate one dollar from the cost of filling up a growler to the project.

 

Taproom Holiday Hours

Swooping in to visit us over the holidays? Please make note of the following special hours in our taproom:

  • Thanksgiving Day (11/22):  CLOSED
  •  Christmas Eve Day (12/24):  Limited Hours – 12pm-5pm (taproom, deli and company store)
  •  Christmas Day (12/25):  CLOSED
  •  New Year’s Day (1/1):  Opening Late (3pm for taproom, deli and company store)

 

  • Company Store Extended Holiday Hours
    • During the Month of December, our company store will be open:
      • 11am-11pm, Monday-Saturday
      • 3pm-9pm, Sunday

 

Otherwise, our taproom’s regular hours are Monday – Saturday from 11am – 2am and Sunday from 3pm-2am.

We look forward to seeing you!

 

 

Company Store Hours for Bolt Cutter Bottle Pick-Up

If you’ve purchased a ticket for the Bolt Cutter bottle release, then you already know what day you’re coming in to pick up your bottles. But do you know what time? Bolt Cutter bottles can only be picked up during our Company Store’s regular hours.

 

Here are the business hours for our Company Store during the week of Bolt Cutter bottle release:

  • Day 1, Sun Nov 11:  12pm-9pm
  • Day 2, Mon Nov 12:  12pm-9pm
  • Day 3, Tue Nov 13:  12pm-9pm
  • Day 4, Wed Nov 14:  11am-11pm
  • Day 5, Thu Nov 15:  11am-11pm
  • Day 6, Fri Nov 16:  11am-11pm

All ticket holders can purchase their reserved bottles in the Company Store anytime during business hours on the date specified on their ticket.

Don’t have tickets for Bolt Cutter yet? As of 9:00am on Monday, October 22, tickets are still available for days 3, 4, and 5. Head over to Brown Paper Tickets and guarantee yourself the opportunity to purchase a bottle or two of Bolt Cutter!

For the full story on Bolt Cutter, check out Sarah’s blog post.

The Bolt Cutter Bottle Release culminates at our 15th Anniversary Party on Saturday, November 17! It’s an all day, free party for those ages 21+, and we hope you’ll come celebrate with us!

 

Bolt Cutter: 15th Anniversary Barley Wine

Update: As of 11/7/12 at 11:27am, all of the tickets for the Bolt Cutter release in our taproom have been sold.

 

Today we are officially announcing the release of Bolt Cutter, a 15% ABV barley wine brewed in celebration of our 15th anniversary and the next release in our Backstage Series. The beer will be available in our taproom through a ticketed release system November 11 through 16 and in stores November 19. Tickets for the taproom release go on sale online at Brown Paper Tickets beginning Saturday, October 6, at 11am.

Bolt Cutter is a cellarable barley wine with an ABV of 15%. Dry-hopped with a mountain of Cascade hops, it’s balanced by a malty sweetness and spicy complexity, resulting from barrel aging some of it in bourbon barrels, some in maple syrup-bourbon barrels and some not at all (standard fermentation only). We’ve allowed the beer to mature in bottles and kegs since July so that it would be perfect for its release next month. Bolt Cutter pours a deep copper color and is best sampled at different temperatures to allow the flavors to unfold.

Bolt Cutter bottle shot

And there’s a story behind the name.

“Years ago,” says Co-Founder, President & CEO Mike Stevens, “when our brewery was located on Monroe, we were defaulting on our loan. Eventually, the bank called and threatened to chain our doors shut if we didn’t come up with the money that we owed them. We had seven days to come up with half a million dollars.”

“So I bought a pair of bolt cutters,” says Co-Founder, Vice President of Brand & Education Dave Engbers. “We were determined to keep our doors open and to keep brewing beer, no matter what it took. Luckily, we never had to use them.”

Engbers keeps the bolt cutters in his office as a reminder of how far we’ve come and the journey we’ve taken since brewing our first beer in November 1997.

To thank all of you in West Michigan and beyond for your years of support, we are throwing a free anniversary party on November 17 in our taproom. We hope to see you here so that we can all celebrate together.

 

Mug Club Renewals for 2013 Membership

It’s hard to believe, but it’s that time of year again…time for Mug Club Renewals!

The renewal period begins at 11am on Wednesday, October 3, and concludes on Friday, November 30, giving 2012 Mug Club Members nearly two months to re-up their memberships for 2013.

As in years past, it is only $50 to continue to enjoy the benefits of a Founders Mug Club Membership: a personalized mug (with a handle!); $1 off all beers, all day every day; $2 off on Wednesdays; and $2 off growler fills any day of the week! Mug Club Members can also enjoy discounted entry to select Founders events like Founders Fest, Harvest Party and Black Party, and the opportunity to be a part of a positive, welcoming, and thriving community.

 

2013 Mug Club Information Poster -- all details are covered in the text in this post

 

Here’s how to renew:

Prior to 11:00am on Wednesday, October 3, current Mug Club Members will have a renewal form placed in their mug (if you lose yours or need another copy, a bartender or server will be more than happy to provide you with a replacement). After receiving the form, simply provide the requested information (name, current mug #, DOB, email address, what you’d like on your mug next year), show your ID, pay $50, and you’re good to go for 2013! At time of payment, a Founders employee will ensure you’ve filled out all of the necessary fields. Note: If you elect to have an image etched on your 2013 mug (instead of or in addition to a name), a $5 engraving fee applies.

Renewing during this two-month period not only ensures your spot in the 2013 Mug Club but guarantees entry at the $50 price point. Plus, if you sign up during the month of October, you’ll automatically be entered for a chance to win a $50 Founders gift card! That’s like getting your 2013 Mug Club Membership free!

After November 30, membership cannot be guaranteed. Signing up by 11/30 is the only way for 2012 Mug Club Members to guarantee being a part of the 2013 Mug Club.

On December 1 at 11am, remaining spaces in the Mug Club will be up-for-grabs for $60, on a first-come, first-served basis. However, if all 2012 Mug Club Members renew, there will be no room for new members, as Mug Club capacity is limited. Essentially, new Mug Club sign-ups work in the same fashion as renewals: Fill out the form, show a valid ID, pay $60 (or $65 if you’d like an image), and you’re good! You’ll be issued a temporary Mug Club ID card with your name and number, though your benefits will not begin until January 1, 2013. (Mug Club Membership is for the calendar year.) At that time, temporary ID cards can be exchanged for permanent ID cards, and the 2013 mugs will arrive shortly thereafter, typically by the beginning of February. (Since all the mugs are hand-etched by a real person, it takes some time.)

If you have any questions regarding these membership details, please see your bartender or server!

 

Update as of 11/1/12: Mug Club Member #415, Brian, won the drawing for the 2013 Mug Club Contest–he won a $50 Founders gift card!

 

Furniture City Stock Ale Brewed in Celebration of the Grand Rapids Public Museum Beer Exhibit

When the Grand Rapids Public Museum opens the doors on its “Thank you, BEER” exhibit next month, it’ll do so with its own signature beer to add to West Michigan’s rich craft brewing history. In celebration of the museum’s historic beer exhibit, we’ve brewed a limited-edition Furniture City Stock Ale that will be sold exclusively in West Michigan. Profits from sales of the 6.7% ABV beer will be donated to the Grand Rapids Public Museum.

Furniture City Stock Ale bottle shot

Furniture City Stock Ale is a malt-forward beer brewed with seven different varieties of malts and grains. Our version of this historic style of beer pours a deep mahogany and is smooth and easy to drink. Each 750mL bottle has a suggested retail price of $6.99 and will be available at participating West Michigan retailers beginning on Monday, October 8. Our taproom will also be pouring this beer on draft and selling bottles out of our coolers.

“When we learned what the team at the museum was thinking for the ‘Thank you, BEER’ exhibit, we knew we had to introduce a commemorative beer in celebration,” said Dave Engbers, our Co-Founder and Vice President of Brand & Education. “Our motivation for Furniture City Stock Ale isn’t about Founders; it’s about celebrating the rich history of brewing in our community, and its vibrant resurgence today, while offering a return ‘thank you’ to the fine folks at the museum who came up with this excellent exhibit.”

The “Thank You, BEER!” exhibit opens at the Grand Rapids Public Museum on October 13 and runs through December 30, 2012. In addition to the ongoing exhibit, the museum will host a brewers challenge, beer education programs and food pairing events throughout.

We produced just 80 barrels of Furniture City Stock Ale. We have no plans for subsequent production, so the commemorative ale will be around only while supplies last.

 

All Day IPA Is Now a Seasonal Offering

As we welcome in Stout Season, we will soon be saying “so long” to our new friend All Day IPA. But this isn’t goodbye. All Day IPA will be released across our footprint beginning on March 1, 2013.

All Day IPA bottles on ice in a red Coleman cooler

When we first launched All Day IPA in February of this year, we were limited by a hop shortage and could only brew enough to distribute it to our home state of Michigan, along with Ohio, North Carolina, and Chicagoland. Based on new contracts, we will not have the same constraints on production of All Day IPA in 2013 and will be able to release it to all of our markets for the first time.

As we move forward, our seasonal lineup will transition between Breakfast Stout in the cooler weather months (roughly October through February) and All Day IPA in the warmer weather months (March through September). The former “seasonal” beers, Double Trouble and Cerise, will be added to our updated specialty four-pack series, joining four other beers with two months of availability each. Our full 2013 availability calendar will be announced soon.

Referring to the lineup change, President & CEO Mike Stevens says, “It just made sense. Beers like Double Trouble and Cerise have ingredient limitations; they fit into our brewing schedule more smoothly as specialties. And All Day IPA has always felt like a warm weather beer to us. We’re excited to get it to more people in 2013.”

All Day IPA will be available through the end of September 2012 in Ohio, North Carolina, and the greater Chicago area. Our last couple of batches were brewed for our home state, where you’ll be able to find the beer through October.

 

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