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.

Gerald_Ford_label_forfounders

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.

 

SWEET-REPUTE-on-sale-4web

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:

Founders_distromap_10.23.13

* = 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
 

Grand Rapids-Area Breweries To Dedicate Brewers Grove and $8000 to Friends of Grand Rapids Parks

Seventeen Grand Rapids-area breweries, including Founders, will host a dedication party for the Brewers Grove being planted at Riverside Park on Thursday, Oct. 17. The Brewers Grove is made of 30 trees, all sponsored by sales of tree-inspired beers sold in Aug. at the participating breweries. Ours was called 100-Year Oak IPA—those of you who drank it in our taproom in August helped raise money for this cause! Collaboratively, area brewers were able to raise over $8,000 to establish the Brewers Grove and plant trees throughout the city. This money is placed in a “tree bank” with Friends of GR Parks and used to not only plant the 30 trees as part of the Brewers Grove, but also in parks all across the city.

On Oct. 17, the public is invited to celebrate as area volunteers plant 30 trees to make up the Brewers Grove in Riverside Park. With authorization from the city, the public is permitted to bring their own beer to celebrate responsibly (pick up a growler from our taproom on your way to the park). Food trucks will be on site.

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A dedication ceremony will began at 7:00 P.M. with emcee Amy Sherman from Great American Beer Trail. Following the dedication Sherman will present a short film about the project.

At dusk, the event will conclude with the Grand Rapids premier of the Michigan Beer Film. The film features the explosive growth of the Michigan Craft Beer industry. It takes the audience to meet brewers, bloggers, foodies and farmers who are spearheading the movement.

WHEN:       THURSDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2013
4:00 P.M. – Volunteers arrive for tree planting
5:30 P.M. – Public welcome
7:00 P.M. – Brewers Grove dedication ceremony
Movie will began at dusk.

WHERE:     Riverside Park (North end by baseball diamond)
2001 Monroe Ave NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505

 

Sweet Repute Is Our Winter 2013 Backstage Series Release

We plan to introduce Sweet Repute, a wheat wine aged in maple syrup bourbon barrels, this December to mark the eighth installment in our Backstage Series. Like all Backstage Series beers, Sweet Repute will be sold in 750mL bottles. It has a suggested retail price of $17.99–$19.99 per bottle.

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 12.6% 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.

Sweet Repute will be released in limited quantities across our distribution footprint beginning on Monday, December 2, and will be available at our taproom the same week. This will be our last Backstage Series release in 2013, with more releases to come in 2014.

 

2013 European Beer Star Awards: Two Medals!

We’re honored that two of our beers were awarded medals from the European Beer Star 2013 competition:

 

EBS_Gold_Award_Clip_2013_Herb_and_Spice_Beer

Mango Magnifico con Calor won a gold medal in the herb and spice beer category.

 

EBS_Bronze_Award_Clip_2013_Baltic-Style Porter

And our Porter won a bronze medal in the Baltic-style porter category.

 

The Brewers Association calls the European Beer Star “one of the most respected and recognized beer competitions in the world.” A total of 1,512 beers from 40 countries participated in the 2013 competition, an increase of 11% over the previous year!

“Winning the gold medal award for such an experimental beer is a testament to the fact that North American craft breweries, including Founders, are now being recognized internationally for pushing the envelope in creating new and exciting flavor profiles—and for doing it well,” said our Co-Founder Dave Engbers.

Mango Magnifico con Calor was one of 10 American beers to take a gold medal at the awards.

The final decisions were made on August 23: an expert committee consisting of 102 people evaluated the beers during an all-day blind taste taste held in the Doemens Brewing Academy in Gräfelfing, Germany. The prizes were awarded on September 18 during a ceremony held at the Drinktec in Munich.

At the European Beer Star, beers are evaluated solely based on sensory criteria: color, aroma, head and taste. The jury, which consists of brewmasters and selected beer experts, tests the beers in a blind taste test. The tester is only aware of the types of beer, but not the brands. The European Beer Star Award especially values authentic, full-flavored, high-quality beers full of character. In each of the 51 different beer categories only one gold, silver and bronze medal is awarded. It is an international competition.

 

Centennial IPA Cans in the Works

Following the recent release of All Day IPA in cans, our team is preparing to put Centennial IPA in 12-pack cans, as well, likely to go on shelves at some point early in 2014. We have designed the packaging and are in the process of determining what this new package will require from us in terms of production capacity. We hope to share more details, including a launch timeline, later this year.

CENT_IPA_Can_Final_WEB

 

Taproom Closed Sept. 3 – 15 for Construction; Reopen Sept. 16

As we’re nearing the end of our expansion completion, we’re seeing changes happen and happen quickly. The trailers that we were using for our company store and bathroom have been removed from our “front yard” to make space for our construction team to finish up work on our beer garden. Because of this, our store is currently online only (with free shipping!) and will be until our taproom reopens next month. And our new bathrooms have been installed and are looking sharp:

New taproom bathrooms!

Also included in this expansion progress is a period of time for which our taproom and deli will need to close to the public. Monday, September 2 (Labor Day) will be our last day that we will be open to the public until our reopen to the public on Monday, September 16. We will have normal hours on September 2, and then will be closed to the public for the next 13 days.

Pretty soon we will have real photographs rather than just renderings (!!), but this is just part of the new space that we will be ready to share with you one month from today:

And we have a few fun surprises in store, including a special treat for those of you who have been visiting us since our days on Monroe Ave…

ArtPrizers rejoice: We will be reopening just in time for ArtPrize and will be excited to feature our Inspired Artist Black IPA during that time, with proceeds to benefit ArtPrize programming.

The opening of our event rental and educational facility will happen later this fall.

 

Company Store Downtime

Our on-site company store will be closed for remodeling starting Monday, August 12, so that the space out front of our taproom can be transformed into a beer garden (see below)! Our on-site store will reopen when the rest of our expansion is complete in September. We encourage you to visit our online store in the meantime, where we will offer free shipping on all orders during our downtime. And be sure to visit us when we reopen for a whole slew of new Founders glassware, wearables and more!

Founders Beer Garden Rendering Aerial View: Opens Fall 2013

For additional product information and assistance with order placement, please call our company store team at (616) 325-2846.

 

Brewer’s Grove Project: Taproom Beer to Benefit Friends of GR Parks

We will be participating in the Brewer’s Grove Project to benefit the Friends of GR Parks during the week of August 4-10: We will have a 100-Year Oak IPA (Centennial IPA aged on oak) on tap in our taproom only during that week, and we will be donating $1 from each pint sold to the Urban Forest Project. This project is being recognized across breweries in the Grand Rapids area as a collaboration in honor of our Beer City USA designation.

Very old Oak tree

As part of this project, there will be a ceremony and tree planting event on October 17 at Riverside Park, so save the date! They plan to begin roughly at 4pm to plant the trees in a “planting party” where the goal is to pay for 100 trees (plant 30 at this event) and then dedicate the area as Brewer’s Grove at the ceremony. They have obtained an open containers permit so fans and volunteers can bring growlers. There will also be a large inflatable screen showing a beer movie at dusk. Please stay tuned for more information.

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