Founders Beer Distributed in Florida

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.

The Founders Brewing Co. Lineup in bottles over a map of Florida

“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.

 

Founders Texas Launch Locations

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):

First Founders Kegs Shipping to Texas on 3/27/13 with Centennial IPA in front

The first Founders kegs shipping to Texas on 3/27/13 with Centennial IPA in front

Austin

 

San Antonio

 

Dallas

 

Fort Worth

 

Denton

 

Houston

 

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.

 

All Day IPA Coming in Cans

 

Founders All Day IPA in a 12 oz. Can 

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. **

 

Founders Bike Team Trains for Barry-Roubaix

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:

 

Founders Beer Distributed in Texas

Our Beers Will Be Available in the Lone Star State in April 2013

Founders Brewing Co. logo and map of Texas with "Coming April 8" overlaid

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.

 

Next Steps for Expansion

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.

 

 

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.

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