KBS Release Party

Early this morning we made the decision, right or wrong, to limit the purchase of Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) bottles to 1/2 case per person rather than the full case that we have done in the past and that we had communicated to our consumers.

First of all, we want to thank everyone for their support, their loyalty, and their appreciation for good craft beer–if nobody cared about KBS, we wouldn’t be sending out this communication because there would be no issue. The turnout for our release today was a testament to the dedication of the beer enthusiasts and to how far our industry has come over the years.

When we saw how many people had come from across the country to buy KBS, we were taken by surprise. We knew we couldn’t make everyone happy: with over 1000 people in line and only 315 cases to go around, the decision was made to try to get KBS to as many dedicated beer enthusiasts as possible so that the majority of those in line didn’t leave empty handed (though some still did). We cut our individual allocation in half; 634 people bought KBS and we ran out before the last 362 people got to the front of the line.

There is no way for us to predict what the response will be to releases like this. Last year, we were able to take care of the majority of those that waited in line, and we increased the number of cases for the release this year as much as we could. Unfortunately, because this beer is aged for about a year in bourbon barrels in the caves beneath Grand Rapids, we brewed it about a year ago–when we were still limited to the production capacity of a 30 bbl brewhouse. Next year’s release will be about three times the size, because we were able to brew it on our new 85 bbl brewhouse just recently. We understand that this will still, most likely, not get supply up enough to match demand for this product, but we see it as an improvement.

Our vision for our release parties has been to get the core beer enthusiasts to our brewery for a fun time, to foster new friendships and new stories to tell. We’ve always wanted it to be more about the experience than the beer that folks leave with, and we’re sorry if that experience today was tarnished for anyone because of the decision that we made early this morning.

We ask any of you that want to express your feelings about how our KBS bottle release was run to email us. The only way for a growing company like us to learn from events like this is for us to hear directly from the people that attended. We appreciate any constructive criticism that you’re able to send our way. Please send your email to info [at] foundersbrewing [dot] com with ATTN: KBS RELEASE PARTY in the subject line. We will collect these emails and will use them to re-evaluate the process through which we distribute KBS in the future.

Thanks again for all of your support and understanding.


–Mike Stevens and Dave Engbers, co-founders

Comments are now closed.
82 Comments on “KBS Release Party”
  1. megan smith

    I came down to the brew pub and enjoyed my KBS in my mug. I’m glad to see so many people enthusiastic about my favorite brewery. And I’m glad you decided to share the wealth. Twice as many people will get to enjoy KBS at home. And the whiners should be grateful bad attitudes don’t disqualify you from purchasing a delicious beer.

  2. While I understand you wanted to make more of the masses happy by deciding to change your limit to a half case, after advertising a higher full case limit, you’ve done nothing more but bait and switch the public. This is the absolute lowest form of marketing. While I know it may gain you more marketshare overall. It completely destroys your base fan base. I may see you one day again, but not any time soon. Keep up the fine beer making and success, just avoid the deceptive marketing practices in the future. Next thing I know you’ll be paying kids in China 10 cents an hour to make beer like WALMART does to make clothes.

    • Sarah

      Randy: Thank you for your feedback. Please understand that this was a last-minute decision and not a marketing tactic. We hope that you understand and continue your support, for the sake of good beer, but that decision is and will always be yours.

    • Wow Randy…. I didn’t get any KBS and I am still a “base fan”.

    • joe.m.robert@gmail.com

      Hate to break it to you Randy, but Founders won’t be losing any fans over this one. Except maybe you, but given that you just compared a microbrewery to a corporation that has a yearly revenue of over $420 Billion, I’d say you don’t really count as a fan. Oh, and your rationale is absurd.

    • Randy Rogge: Glad that you won’t be coming back, as that just means for KBS or other tasty Founder’s Brews for the rest of us.

    • I hardly feel like this was bait and switch. You have 300 or so cases allocated to over 1000 people. So do you send 700ish people home empty handed or do you try and make as many people as you can happy? I applaud Founders for the switch to 12 beers instead of 24. I arrived just after 6:30 and still didn’t receive any and I don’t look down on Founder’s at all. If I had only received 12 beers I would have been ecstatic. I arrived at the same time last year and was # 40 in line. No one had any idea it would be this crazy this year.

      My suggestion for next year would be to do a ticket / raffle system like Three Floyds or Portsmouth. These breweries see demand well in excess of their supply and it would be nice to know in advance if you will be getting any of their delicious beer.

      You guys are awesome and I will support you always. You create the excellent beer and “we” create the hype. Ignore the noise and keep doing what you are doing.

    • Did you seriously just compare Founders to Walmart? Really? You seem out of touch, friend.

      I saw a similar incident at Cigar City’s Hunahpu release on the same day–reducing the bottle purchase limit from 3 to 2. While it sucked hearing that initially, I quickly realized that move was just to make sure more people get to try that lovely beer, not short-change the many more fans that made the effort to come and show their support.

      lol, Walmart.

    • To add insult to injury, the first three hundred and the “fortunate” few who followed; who stood for hours in subfreezing weather, had to endure yet another line to get into the taproom. There’s something wrong here.

    • Larry

      Randy, this wasn’t even a good marketing decision. In marketing, we understand three things; first, unhappy customers are seven times more likely to spread the word about a negative experience than happy customers to spread the word about a positive experienece; second, if you must disappoint a group of your customer base, do NOT make it the most “die hard” group, as they are generally the “opinion leaders”, and are most likely to have blogs etc. (they can and will influence others opinion of your company); and third, at least maintaining an image of integrity is important to brand building.
      Unfortunately, I was one of the first 50 in line, and was personally insulted by the lack of respect, and thought behind the action. There wasn’t even any attempt to ease the blow. Maybe give a half case of KBS, and another half cas of another beer the want to become more popular (for free), or offer a gauranteed case next year , or offer some free merchandise, or, or, or,. Really though, the first 300 should have got their case, and the question at hand should have been, “How do we make the rest as happy as possible, considering they are not getting any KBS in bottles.

    • Michael

      I’m definitely smelling entitlement and greed in some of these posts. Such persons should go back to baseball cards, and leave the rest of us to enjoy good beer TOGETHER.

  3. Eric

    Was this the entire batch? I was hoping that some bottles would make it to Detroit. If not, I can always wait for your regular breakfast stout, I won’t complain because even if I don’t get KBS this year, I still get a enjoy Dirty Bastard year-round, and that’s more than I could have ever hoped for. Thank you for brewing such amazing beer.

    • Sarah

      Eric–It was not the entire batch. Some KBS will still be released through distribution, including in Detroit. Great to hear from a Dirty Bastard fan! Thanks for your comments.

  4. Tim Anderson

    Thanks for making a five hour drive feel like a swift kick in the sack.

  5. Hey – just wanted to send some positive vibes out there to every spaz beer nerd. Calm down, it’s beer. Founders makes some of the best. Positive vibes.

  6. Founders,

    Let me say that I love your beer, it is absolutely second-to-none. Last night was the first time I was ever at the brewery and I was like a 5 year old walking into Disney World for the first time, I was in awe. Great staff, great food.

    As far as the decision you guys made, I have to say with a little forethought and effort it could have been completely avoided. You guys knew how much was going to be available and all it would of took was one employee to do a head count to see you wouldn’t have enough for everyone. I got there at 1, and by 3 there must have been 250-300 people in line. Theses people are true craft beer drinkers and knew exactly what they had to do to get what was promised. Get there early. It’s not like some random people showed up up for a beer they never heard of. Alot of us drove many hours, put many gallons of $4.00 gas in our car, took off work, ect. And while I can’t speak for everyone, I know I sure as hell wouldn’t have spent $300 on this trip for 3 four packs of beer. But back to the head count..Right around the 300 mark, why not put up a sign telling everyone that at -this- point, we’re sold out. Problem solved. Instead of making hundred of people wait out in 15 degree weather for the night only to go home emptyhanded.

    As far as any suggestions, I can tell you this. It was cold. Brutally cold. Not everyone can drag out a tent or heater, so why not make things more pleasent for everyone? A couple of patio heaters, a few more big tents and some hot coffee would have made a world of difference. Just my 2 cents.

    I love you guys and will always support you but that whole night/day was very dissapointing.

  7. I’m pretty sure Founder’s intention isn’t to see how many people they can have camping overnight in their parking lot, freezing. But that seems like what it took this year to score some KBS. I feel bad for those people that spent 9+ hours in the dark and cold only to be told they were only allocated half a case. Some drove from all over the US and Canada. Though there will be more KBS next year, I hope Founders can come up with a way to prevent the need for people to camp out. Enjoying great beer shouldn’t require risking frostbite.

  8. Randy

    Sarah, thanks for your reply. I appreciate your feedback and will return at some point. I’m only one person, so I don’t believe I’ll hurt the bottom line.

  9. Ken

    Based on the turnout, I fully support the decision to change the limit so more people can go home happy. Randy’s point is as if you guys planned it all along which I don’t believe for a second…

    Thanks for your communication and handling of the situation. Made for a pretty awesome day!

  10. Pingback: Founders Brewing apologizes for KBS release hysteria, says it is brewing 3x for 2013 | Beerpulse.com

  11. Channing

    I don’t think this comes remotely close to being bait and switch. Bait & switch implies a devious plan to mislead consumers. They were trying to look out for the fans and take care of as many people as they could. I think what they did was great, and will help build future customer relations more than destroy them. Sure brewers love making great beer, but without customers to buy it, your not going anywhere. If I were one of rhe people standing in line, sure, I might get a little upset, but when it comes to great craft beer, I’m all for the sharing. I applaud this decision. Good job guys

  12. Randy Rogge, I suppose you would rather 677 people leave empty handed than 362? Greedy much? Its good beer man, share the wealth!

    • Pants, yes, they should go home empty handed, if they wanted to make SURE they got a case, then get out of bed on Friday night, like we did, wait in the cold, like we did, expecting the ADVERTISED 1 case, FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED.

  13. James Riley

    While not as harshly put I have to agree with Randy. I was one of the people who got there at 1 in the morning and bared the elements on what was easily the coldest, longest night of my life (also one of the funnest) just to find out last minute that I was only going to get half a case. I would not have made the over 3 hour drive and stood outside for that long if I knew this ahead of time. You decided to make some people happy but in turn make the hardcore people who planned properly feel shafted. On our way out we talked to a few people in line who had numbered tickets that had gotten there at 6am. I get this may come off as selfish but it didnt seem fair to us after being out in that for so long. I am grateful to have some KBS for sure I just feel at this point people know how popular beer releases are and if someone planned right and put in the time they should have been able to receive what they were told they would. This has left a very sour taste in my mouth about Founders. I did have an amazing night, and met amazing people and thank you guys for that opportunity. I just feel you really dropped the ball on those who showed some epic dedication to your product. Cheers.

  14. jacque

    Well I’m glad to hear that more people ended up with some beer. It’s a high demand product and a certain number of people are always going to be upset when they don’t get a hold of something that is in demand. At least this way less people were snubbed. Good stuff!

  15. Matt

    Was in the top 100 in line and this was my first time. I have been to the 2 past dark lord days and this was a great event. Of course I was a little bummed out with the half case but now several more people will go home happy and those people who barely got their case are probably thankful as all get out. I hope those people get online and speak about the greatness that they were a part of today. I work with a brewery in Chicago and we go through Cavalier just as you all do and I’m proud to be even associated with you guys. Keep up the great work!

  16. Start going brewery only. You guys are awesome, you make awesome beers year in and year out. Yet when it comes to limited releases, everyone loses. You sent 36 beers of your last limited release to my state. I wish you had kept it because so many individuals got angry and so many stores got shafted.

    Keep your locals happy. Make me come to you. I will if the party is big enough and bad-ass-enough. Hell, if you throw a party like you make a beer I will start fighting to travel to you.

  17. Ken

    Completely disagree with the bait and switch allegation. Completely sympathize with your predicament and support your decision (would have supported any decision you made). Since annual growth appears to be exponential you’ll probably have a few unhappy patrons next year too, regardless of how many more cases you have available. I believe the best idea is to have advance ticket sales. Anybody taking a chance a showing up without ticket won’t (or shouldn’t) be bitter if they walk away empty handed.

    Thanks for a fun day.

  18. brad

    Such a great time, I love great beer and I am gracious for all the generosity of all people who dared in the freezing cold. I love when beer hoarders who aren’t ever satisfied in anything. It’s just beer all in all. It’s more for the event and the magnitude of what is going on in craft beer. Just because someone has been loyal and steamed the revolution towards quality beer doesn’t mean your are entitled to anything. Just because you can sell your leftovers on ebay, its not the end of the world. I’m glad more people got to get some kbs. It’s amazing. You did the right thing by rationing the cases out. It was the right thing to do. Just because someone got there at 330 and another 300 people arrived within 30 minutes of that time they shouldn’t get shut out. In fact lots of people were sharing there brews with the ones less fortunate. They still stood in the cold on a hope of scoring something amazing. I will always be loyal to founders for this. See you next year with even more brews and grub to share.

  19. jason

    I just want to say THANK YOU! While I can see how the people who camped out overnight are disappointed they only got a 12 pack of KBS, I, who got in line at 5 am and was #570 am very grateful that you split it up so more could enjoy it! You guys are first class, and every experience I have had with Founders has made me proud to support you guys! If I had one suggestion, it would be to take a few tips from Three Floyds’s in the way they do Dark Lord Day, and have some more food, beer vending and bathrooms, definitely bathrooms!!:) I had a great time! Froze my butt off, made some new friends, and drank allot of incredible beer that I would probably never get to have if not for events like this, so thank you again! I look forward to getting back up to GR this summer, and can’t wait!

  20. Sarah,
    Do not feed the trolls.

  21. Marc

    @Randy this is not bait and switch. Bait and switch means luring someone with a cheaper product and selling then a more expensive product. The decision to distribute to more people in smaller quantities is not bait and switch.

  22. You would never meet the demand no matter how much you produce. As one of the most renowned beers in the world among those who know anything about craft brew, KBS would be a hot commodity at any production level. This was not a bait and switch by any means. People are selfish and greedy. This brewery doesn’t owe anybody anything and losing Randy Rogge or any other member of the “fan base,” which I presume is referring to locals who feel that they are entitled to something because they drink at Founders regularly, isn’t going to hurt them. Get over yourselves. I was one of the first people in the world to ever taste KBS back in the Brassworks building on Monroe Ave. Myself and a friend met there with the Beer Advocate Beer Fly guide for the area. There were only four other patrons in the taproom which likely never happens these days. Each of us were poured a snifter of “Kentucky Breakfast Stout” before it had officially been put on tap and available to the public and before any had ever been put in a bottle. Mike Stevens and Nate, the head brewer at the time, and the current head brewer Jeremy chatted us up while we all enjoyed their creation. It is a very fond memory. By 5 AM today, the line at Founders was so long I knew I wasn’t going to score any beer but I am not angry nor do I feel like they owe me something for being a “fan” since the good old days. Continued success to you all! You did the right thing!

  23. Congratulations! Hype (notice, I said hype, not quality as it was already at the level, I believe) for KBS has now reached the level of Kate the Great, Hunahpu, Dark Lord and other fanatic fueled beer release parties. I appreciate you cutting the limit, while I would love a case of KBS….I would rather get less and have more people enjoy it, especially people who took the time to visit the brewery on the release day, than have a few more bottles to either take up space in my cellar and look pretty or sell (I would not do such a thing, but we must face it, plenty of people will). I also do not believe not selling someone a case destroys your fan base. If anything, it shows a respect for all of your customers not just the people with enough money/time on their hands to “follow the beer trucks around”. In my opinion release days like this are important and fun for many more reasons than simply securing a large amount of the beer first. I also appreciate the press release and give my condolences to anyone who showed up and left empty handed (trust me you are not alone, I live in Missouri, had to work this weekend, for a high end wine/beer store and probably will not be allowed to purchase any KBS at all because I am an employee, but life goes on).

  24. Pingback: Founder’s Blog Post On KBS Release | | Worst Beer Blog EverWorst Beer Blog Ever

  25. Joe

    I hate to say this but Founders went from my favorite brewery to just another company on a self of hundreds today. A company must stand behind its printed words and today Founders betrayed its loyal customers in an attempt to please the masses. The website said we were entitled to one case and the 9.5 hours in 26 to 40 degree should have delievered this promise. Instead, Founders allowed line-jumpers and masses to destroy what had become a great event. My group drove 11 hours to purchase a product that would have been cheaper on ebay. What hurt the most was that the quantities of this beer was know since 2-21-2012. Why couldn’t these numbers been advertised weeks ago and why was the chaos allowed to occur in the first place? It could have been prevented and the company actually risked the well being of its customers in an attempt to create the secondary market that destroyes the craft beer market in the first place.

    On another note, at one time KBS was a special beer and I hate to say this but its now just another barrel aged beer that may not live up to the hype or cost.

    • If you had waited 30 minutes in line in 70F weather, would you have been less upset? Your risk to get beer does not warrant your deservedness. They underestimated how many would show up, wanted to please as many people as possible, and made a decision that they were fully allowed to do… and babies like you are unimaginably sore about it. There was no contract, there was no prior purchase, and despite yours and Founders’ expectations they amended the limitation. Nobody feels bad for you, stop trying to insult the brewery. If KBS is just another barrel aged beer then why the fuck did you drive 11 hours to camp out in the cold for it? Your parade got a light drizzle.

    • Joe

      aaron…HAHAHHAHAHAHHA. that was great. anybody who thought there was a 0% chance they’d walk away empty handed is an idiot. anybody who thinks 12 KBS is not enough for a year is an idiot…12 beers, 12 months. One KBS/month isn’t good enough for you? If you’re going to be angry about not getting beer or not getting enough beer, then don’t go!!!

  26. Travis

    Being a loyal customer who was there at 5 am and number 429 in line, I appreciate what you guys did. Thanks for hooking us up. We thought that would be early enough, got bummed when we thought it wasn’t, stayed anyway, and were very happy in the end. Great time meeting people and bottle sharing, too. Thanks again.

  27. Jeff

    If what this article says is true and it is more about the experience then why would the taproom not be open to the people which came to wait in line. Instead we got our beer and shuffled out the door. Oh and if you want to go in and buy some beer go wait in another line for three hours, even though you just waited for eight hours. Bad expierience overall, and very well thought out. See ya next year. Hope its a better time.I love your beer.

  28. Lee

    I think the way you are handling this unfortunate situation is very professional. With an honest approach, and straight forward communication to all who enjoy your quality products, I feel you will only reenforce your fan base. It’s disappointing that some feel the need to make unnecessary jabs during these unforeseeable circumstances. I wasn’t able to make it this weekend to even try to purchase your KBS, and I can understand the disappointment of those who were turned away. Yet, I applaud your decision to cut maximum quantities for purchase to help provide your product to as many as possible. I’m sure it wasn’t an easy decision to make, but then again, maybe it was – In the end you provided your quality brew to as many of your loyal fan base as possible. I look forward to trying KBS on day, but until then you have many other amazing alternatives to choose from. Once again, your fast action timely statement, and the honesty given in those words showed how passionate you to not only your craft, but to those you enjoy the quality products you provide.

  29. Thomas Plummer

    Thank you Founders for splitting the cases. I run a bar in Kenosha and I am a huge supporter of Founders fine ales. My wife and I, along with 7 good friends, drove to GR to get in line, straight thru the night, arrived at 5:30 and were shocked at the line. Two of my friends were at the release last year. They arrived at 6 am and were 70fh in line. We arrived earlier this year and were over 500 people away from the start. OMG! We were convinced that we were screwed, but we waited in the cold just in case. How great it was to get a ticket for half a case! While I am sure SOME of the first 300 were upset and refused to understand, ALL of the next 300 were so appreciative. Thank you. I will continue to support Founders and spread the word about some of the best beers brewed in the world.

    Tom Plummer
    Ron’s Place
    Kenosha, Wi

    • Tom, Please advertise $2 beers at your bar, then when patrons come in, charge them $4, see what happens. I arrived at 11:15 PM on Friday night, about 6 hours before you and your gang. I know I deserve nothing from Founders, they are making a choice to sell to me, but they advertised first come, first serve, 1 case max. The people 316 and beyond, too bad, get up earlier, plan ahead.

  30. Dan

    I’ll gladly accept Randy’s share of all future releases.

  31. tim

    I and my son were 2 of those poor souls too far back in the line who left empty handed after a 2 hour drive (plus 3 hours for him the night before) and 5 hours standing in the cold. Thankfully, we didn’t have the added expense of an hotel room as did others in the crowd.

    If you knew you were only selling 315 cases, did you announce it ahead of time? If you had, I could have made an educated guess that I wasn’t getting any when I arrived and left then. Or, I’d have arrived even earlier for a better chance.

    Your “last minute decision” could’ve limited purchases to 4 packs. Then we all could’ve bought some, though that wouldn’t have been fair to those in the front given your stated 1 case limit. Your decision most likely angered the first 315 diehards, made the day for the next 315, and still left the last 300 or so, well, out in the cold.

    You could’ve handed out 1 case tickets to the first 100, then 4 pack tickets to the rest of us.

    Or, you could sell tickets online ahead of time so one would know in advance if they’re going to score, saving the unlucky losers the expense, time, etc., of the trip and the wait in the cold.

    Or, once you saw 800-1000 people at 7am, you could have made your last minute decision and handed out tickets then. Again, sparing us near the end the difficult wait.

    Finally, maybe you’re contractually obligated to your Distributors, but if you’ve got a 1000 people in line that want cases, and 1000 cases overall (315 plus whatever is going to the Distributors), the 1000 that endured the trip and wait should get it over the Distributors.

    • Hey tim, they are most definitely contractually obligated to reserve a specific number for their distributors. The few hundred folks that got the cases from the store are lucky they got them.. and should take a step back and realize they are lucky. They don’t deserve it, Founders doesn’t owe them anything, they simply took a risk to wait in line for some beer. All of your suggestions miss the target, and it sounds like you didn’t read this blog entry at all. Way to go!

  32. Hey Randy: The world doesn’t revolve around you, buddy. Who the hell needs a whole case of KBS, besides those who will turn around and sell it on EBay? If they hadn’t readjusted the limit, an overwhelming majority of folks who waited in line would have left with zero bottles. That would have been the most unfair thing to do. Maybe you should be the new face on the Curmudgeon bottle. Keep up the good work Founders, you guys absolutely rock!

  33. Jason

    Thank you for this message, as it shows you are willing to listen. My suggestion is that you show some form of tangible ownership for your decision to not stay true to your advertisment for the people who arrived in time to get a full case. You did nothing, at the time, to say you were sorry, offer a small gesture of good will, or compensate for the change/loss in any way. You do make amazing beer, but you are no longer the only show in town, and this is a small breach in trust to some of your most dedicated consumers.

  34. Mike

    What does this do for distribution? I live in MICHIGN. With adding more distribution points around the country does this mean that # is reduced? I appreciate you spreading your great beer around so everyone gets to taste your GREAT beer, also I know you’ll be brewing more beer, but till then can’t you keep it here, in MICHIGAN? I know that is probably NO.Just thought I’d ask. Till then I will cross my fingers and hope for the best.

  35. Hey guys, just wanted to confirm that your “base fan base” isn’t remotely destroyed, that your decision to limit to half-case was not close to the lowest form of marketing, and that you make great beer consistently. I see no need for any hard feelings, or somehow making reference to child labor or Walmart. Thanks!

  36. Unfortunately, for breweries like Founder’s (in the age of beer geek entitlement) they’re pretty much damned if they do and damned if they don’t. With a beer as popular and eagerly anticipated as KBS, they just have no chance to make everyone happy. Their best bet is to try and satisfy as many people as possible…which they did. They had a hard decision to make at the last minute, but they elected to make approximately 600 people happy rather than 300 or so. I can’t imagine being upset or disappointed at “only” being able to buy a 1/2 case of KBS. Consider yourself exponentially luckier than most of the beer geeks out there treking from store to store to try and score a bottle or two. It’s this sense of spoiled entitlement that is making it harder and harder for some folks to get excited about “release days” anymore.

  37. Joe

    This was my first KBS day experience. Arrived in line at 6:00am on the dot. And was pleasantly surprised by Founders decision to split it up and i was #574. Wow Founders, that was really really Awesome of you guys to do that.

    The only thing Founders and Fans could do this year is try to plan based on what happen last year. I heard 6am last year was well enough early based on others experience. Founders planned for bathrooms and etc based on last year too.

    I would never expect you guys to have foresee the future and the growth the event has turned into after one year. You guys made a decision you thought was best and I respect you for doing that.

    Thank you Founders… your attitude to try make as many people happy as possible is much appreciated. Stay Classy!

  38. David

    The only real problem I see here is a lot of people’s sense of entitlement, anyone who actually got bottles has nothing to complain about. I drove from the other side of the state on very little sleep and froze my ass off for 5 hours and left with one 4 pack only because of the generosity of a friend who happened to be 100 people ahead of me in line. Did I still have a great time? Absolutely. Will I go to next year’s release? Most likely. Personally, I think Founders handled the situation the best way they possibly could have. I’m sure a lot of people will say that they made the wrong decision, but in the grand scheme of things, Founders is still doing an awful lot of things right.

  39. Mike, Dave and all the Founder’s team – please accept my biggest compliments to the way you handled the event yesterday!

    After travelling for 2 1/2 hours from Rochester and ariving at our favorite brewery in the world a bit after 5 am, we quickly realized that we were probably out of luck to get our favorite brew when we saw 300 to 400 people in front of us. We brought plenty of other beers and food to share with the folks around us so we decided to have a good time meeting new friends and trying new beers – it was our own little beer fest. We had a wonderful time and we were perfectly content with missing out on getting KBS this time while enjoying the company of fellow beer geeks.

    And then the rumors started brewing. Word got out that the allocation may be reduced from 1 case to a 1/2 case per person. Hmmmm. Perhaps we will be in luck. Around 10 o’clock or so, your team began passing out numbers and yes… we were lucky enough to receive one.

    I think the decision made it clear, you do care about your customers. Sure the few that began camping out the night before may have been disappointed but you made the day for an extra 300 people.

    I will make a promise to you. If I am one of the early birds at a future release and you need to make the decision to change the allocation, I will remember what you did for us yesterday and I will share this story with those around me. Great job and keep up the good work.

  40. Pingback: Founders vows to triple future Kentucky Breakfast Stout batch after beer lovers leave empty-handed |

  41. tim

    I’m pretty sure I saw Randy cut in line at 9:30 AM . Thanks to Founders for hosting a great release. I’m sorry you have to apologize to people who whine and complain because they feel entitled. I camped from midnight on and I thank you for the experience- there are around a million people that are homeless in our country and it says alot when people complain about spending a night out in the cold by choice to buy rare beers. Regardless, If I arrive as an invited guest to a friend’s house for dinner and more people show up than expected , I would graciously accept less food so that others would be able to eat. You made the right call. The only problem with the release is that there are greedy individuals who scheme looking to cash in instead of enjoying a good time. Keep making as much great beer as you can- if you lost customers like Randy, then that’s their problem not yours. You make some pretty sweet and tasty awesome beers. Cheers!

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    • Sarah

      Thank you for the feedback; we’re looking into this.

  43. Maybe I’m the only one that had this predicament.

    We arrived at 530am and when I saw the line, I laughed, called my friends and said…”There are more than 315 people we aren’t getting any bottles”.

    They said, “Well we will still head there we are almost there”.

    They pulled up and said the same thing I did…”We aren’t getting any bottles”.

    So instead of driving back home, we set up shop in the parking lot behind the “food truck” and decided to share beers, cook our food we brought, etc. We were third in line for the taproom. The only thing I would complain about is that had we have known it was a 1/2 case we quickly could’ve done a head count and decided to stand in line. I think we chose the more fun option in the end. IF anyone were standing near the front of the taproom line…we were the ones sharing CBS with anyone near the front who wanted any…to me, that’s the “hardcore” craft beer lovers at their finest…not some idiot that camped just so they could sell a good portion online to fund their next beer purchase and boost their ego.

    My only complaint was that there was nothing special on tap…that was one of the primary reasons we stayed on the grounds from 530am until 11am too. No Nitro KBS, no CBS, nothing. The taproom was so crowded too, why not open up at 9am and still allow the beer line to be 11am, to maybe allow some of the place to clear out and lessen the mad house. I’m not complaining personally, because I was the first chair at the bar and it was the best service I have had out of 100+ visits to Founders.

  44. Vanilla Thunder

    Agree with all those who correctly define Bait & Switch that this wasn’t it. To the detractors, you’re 21+. You need to FIRST realize that it’s Founder’s Brewering that owns all the KBS before they sell it. They can sell it to whomever, however, and in whatever quantities they want regardless of how they promote it. You have zero recourse other than, and I doubt anyone, even they, would fault you, to not buy. Get that all laid out in your head before you drive for hours, stand in line possibly more hours, likely drinking, and feel slighted. Get your group together Thursday and discuss failure to receive ANY KBS (or other beer). The people I was with and around me had plenty of alternative plans that, not surprisingly, were still implemented after we were lucky enough to get some KBS. These included having some KBS on tap with a sandwich for lunch as well as patronizing other bars in the area.

    I was also interested to find out how many people were staying in which hotels around the area. City Flats seemed to be a big draw. I live about a mile away and will have to remember to put up a room or two at my place next year for a few releases/parties on airbnb.com

    Great release. I’ll come down again next year. Possibly earlier, possibly with more friends, but always with the awareness that we might not get to own what we already don’t own before we buy it. And we’ll bring more to share in line. Great crowd.

  45. Look its not entitlement or greediness. People are upset because Founders said that they would do something (sell full cases) and then they didn’t.

  46. Walt

    This is my second year coming to this event and have left empty handed both years. I will probably not be doing beer releases again without a ticket system like Dark Lord Day.

    However, I actually wish they would have left it at a one case limit. The people that got there the night before put the effort in to make sure they would get some. I didn’t. I thought 6:30 would be early enough and I was definitely wrong. I chose to go back to the hotel at that point. I’m just glad that I didn’t get there at 5:30-6:00 because I would have made the same decision but would have probably been giving up a half case.

    As a few other comments said, I was a little disappointed that there weren’t other KBS variations on draft like last year. That being said, I did have a blast and drinking KBS all day is still wonderful. The service was absolutely fantastic too. Both at the bar and in the store.

  47. Joe

    All the crybabies might make Founders reconsider these events. Or, Founders may decide to stop production of KBS; then you would get NONE. Maybe people should relax a little bit and take a minute to appreciate Founders for what they do and KBS for what it is. Also, if I were Founders, I would’ve cut the limit to 1/2 case AND if anybody even whispered a complaint when purchasing they would’ve got none and can get in the back of the line. Grow up people and show this brewery the respect they deserve. Nobody is perfect.

    • Joe, not about the beer, Founders makes great beer, and the KBS was excellent this year, this is about TRUST. They advertised a certain criteria, FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED, and hinted that the line will start early, “We don’t know when the lines will start”. So, many folks, 315 to be exact planned properly to play within the rules that were set up, and then the rules were changed. I got my 1/2 case, was #89, and happy with that, but felt a bit betrayed with the late change. Forget the beer aspect of it, it is a poor business decision. I will ask you, what would happen in your business if you did something similar?

    • Joe

      John O, my apologies I didn’t see the rules that were setup. Please post them for me. All I saw was a flyer that said there would be a limit of 1 case per person. The limit was adjusted at Founders discretion. You feel betrayed, as others may. However, the majority (as is evidenced by the responses) can understand the decision and APPRECIATE the decision. Hooray for you, you’re a good planner, as am I. It is your opinion that it was a poor business decision. If it was really a bad decision, it would hurt Founders business, which it most likely will not. Only time will tell. It’s pretty clear reading this blog and being a rational person that it was an honorable move. Once again, loosen up…rules… If you feel ‘betrayed’ then go elsewhere. You have no sympathy from me.

  48. Steve

    KBS is great, but I’m perfectly content walking to the liquor store around the corner to grab Founders Imperial Stout or any of Founders’ other great products. Takes me about 15 or 20 minutes.

    Thanks for the great beers! Hope the release goes better next time. Sounds like it was a good time for most folks.

  49. Different session-timed tickets (a’la Dark Lord / NOT their Anniv. Party!).

    I didn’t even go to your event but after watching special releases from over the last 15 months I can safely say I wouldn’t even consider going unless the event has session-timed tickets.

    Yes the line is part of the fun with sharing bottles and all that but really: I don’t want to spend hours of my life waiting to buy bottles of beer.

  50. Pingback: Founders KBS Day 2012 - Recap and Pics | thefullpint.com

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  52. I will ask this of all that think Founders is correct in their decision. A pint of Centennial is advertised on the chalk board at $4, peanuts, large basket, $2.50. So, $6.50 is their advertised price. I walk up to the bar, order a pint and a large basket, barkeep asks me for $6.50. I say, psssst, yeah right, and put $3.25 on the bar. What happens to me? if you say I get thrown out on my ear, move to the front of the line.
    My solution is this, I had #89, take the first 315 folks, equal to the 1 case per person, Founders should have charged us the $114, give us the 1/2 case, THEN, tell us to keep our numbers for next year, those folks pay $57 and get a FULL case on FRIDAY evening, special release, no waiting in line for us. The late arrivals get their half this year, we get some satisfaction for 2013, and Founders sits on $1,700 or so dollars for a year, problem solved.

  53. Christopher Michael

    Well, I was moderately bummed out that I missed out on bottles this year. I arrived about 3.5-4 hours earlier this year, yet I was unable to score in the bottles. Having said that, I still had a really enjoyable time. I did expect to get bottles this year, but my enjoyment of a trip was not contingent upon getting them. Great atmosphere and friendly staff, those in line with me were great. My only real suggestion is maybe doing some pre-online ticketing system beforehand, that way people are not lining up at 4 pm the previous day. That makes it difficult for those of us with lives and jobs to attend. Either way, I had a blast. I’ll be there again next year, bottles or not.

  54. jay bird

    This was my 3rd KBS Release Party. Unfortunately, it was the first one where I left empty handed.I arrived 90 minutes earlier than last year and was stunned by the turn out. Quite a tribute to the brewery, which I still love despite getting skunked. I did notice more bad behavior this time than in the past by a very small but highly visible minority. Staggering drunks, passed out, vomit coated attendees, ticket and beer scalpers. Perhaps some of this could be reduced through eliminating tents and going to a lottery system.On the other hand, the guys around me were aces and freely sharwd their prized beers. That took the sting out of not scoring, somewhat. I don’t know if I will be back for next year’s release but in the meantime, I will continue to patronize the brewery. Good beer and good folks. Dave even bought me a pint because my sandwich took long the last time. I think these guys know what they are doing.

  55. Hello,

    I am local and so it did not affect me as much as others on that cold Friday night. Around me were people from New Jersey, Ohio, Maryland and a lot of folks from Chicago. I was number 88 in line, after passing by and seeing the tents beginning to be set up, I realized I needed to get there early. I wanted to make sure I received a case, because I knew your allotment was low. What ensued was very disappointing for some and excitement for others. My 24 beer allotment was all promised to people all over the country, I had friends and family that were excited when I called them at 11:30 pm (when I got there) , that were going to get to try this beer.

    My suggestion for you would be to promise a full case of 2013 KBS to the first 362 people that were in line. You can do this by having those that have tickets send the ticket and a self addressed stamped envelope to Founders and in return, you would send them a ticket for a guaranteed case of the 2013 KBS (at full cost of course) and you could sell those beers at the same release date. You would show the loyal supporters of Founders that were in line camping all night, that you do respect the fact that they were promised a case and received a 1/2 a case. Since you will have triple capacity of KBS for next year, it wouldn’t be any skin off your back to make this promise to those that were shorted. It would go a long way in earning the trust of those that drove a long way, spending hundreds in gas to come to your fine brewery. It would help heal the black eye that this decision made to a lot of beer lovers.

    To those that think the people in the top 362 are whining, you weren’t in the cold all night trying to guarantee your full case of beer. It would be like waiting out for concert tickets all night and only being able to get half the tickets that you were supposed to be able to purchase, it would be very disappointing to you and you know that is the truth.

    My suggestion for 2013 would be lottery system that people can sign up weeks in advance for the opportunity to purchase 2013 KBS. It is a testament to Founders about the popularity of KBS and other beers and you should be proud of your beer (I love it). This release was crazy and I had a great time enjoying beers from all over the world, as well as meeting beer lovers from everywhere. I hope you think about the suggestion that I have put forth and do the right thing.



    • Joe

      Brian (and everybody else),
      I sat out in the cold last night from 11PM until just now (12:30PM EST), just to tell you all that you can stop playing that card. It was very cold and I’m feeling a little sick. I wasn’t drinking any beer or sharing the company of others. I just did it because you all act like it’s a big deal. So now anytime anybody mentions that, they can listen to me tell them to be quiet.

  56. Ryan

    You know, if you sold beer to every person who showed up that day, instead of at a lower cost to distributors, you’d make more money? Food for thought.

    1000 cases at retail price, versus 315 cases at retail and 685 at wholesale.

    Just sayin’.

  57. If people are damn near banging down your brewery’s door for beer, why is the vast majority of it being sent out on trucks? As you have noticed, people will sacrafice quite a bit just to get a taste of the stuff.

    Make it brewery-release only, on multiple, announced days. When it’s spread out over multiple days, the fury will die down some, but will surely still be an effective release.

    Take into account CBS: 12,000 bottles made; 1800 released at the brewery (a significantly higher % released in-house as opposed to KBS). Now imagine if you released 3000 of those bottles every Saturday for a month. You would still have people making epic treks to your brewery but they wouldn’t be so worried about not getting any. And believe me, as one of the first 100 people in line for KBS this year, the only reason people line up that early is because of the uncertainty about it.
    (This is only one suggestion of the many ways to improve this event. I understand this wouldn’t be plausible if there was a contract situation with distributors.)

    But do you realize how rediculous it is to try to find any limited-availabilty Founders beer in stores? Even in Michigan, vendors are keeping it for themselves, their friends, lying and say they didn’t get any when they did, etc. Not all vendors, but more than just a few.

    I understand that this problem is only a product of your successes, but your loyal fanbase feels very alienated. We don’t feel like we are entitled to your beer, but we don’t feel as though you are doing your best to make this a great, quality event.

    I will always be a loyal customer, but I’m begging you, please address some of these issues.

    There is one thing I would like to know about this particular release, however. What would you change about this decision to cut allocation? Anything at all? I’m sure you are sick and tired of this by now, but I would really appreciate a response.

  58. All I want to say is “Thanks Founders” The difficult choice you made allowed me to leave with 12 awesome beers. My buddies and I drove nine hours to GR and was in line by 4:00 AM. Our lowest number was 331. This was my third year at Founders and the first year I waited in line. Love your beer and your staff.

  59. Having visited Founders for KBS day the last three years, I can’t stress enough how disappointed I was to arrive at 6am Saturday morning only to see there were so many people in line that I was more likely than not SOL on receiving any KBS. What a difference a year makes…Last year I arrived on site at 7:15am, easily found a space in the parking lot, and was one of the first 50 or so in line. Two years ago, arrived at 9am, was in the 60s. What I loved about KBS day was the low key, small gathering of die-hard Founders fans meeting in line, doing a bit of sharing, and then having some great beers in the taproom after swiftly picking up our cases.

    I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t upset that I was out of KBS this year. I took vacation time on Friday afternoon to drive up to Grand Rapids (5 1/2 hours each way from south of Indianapolis). Paid a ton of $ in gas, paid for a hotel room, only to learn on arrival we’d be getting nothing. Rather than leaving, we joined the line for the tap room, shared some great beer with others in line, and were among the first to enter through the doors at 11am. We sampled so many great beers, were helped by fabulous staff, bought some schwag, and headed back to Indy.

    We made the best of a bad situation. FOUNDERS MADE THE BEST OF A BAD SITUATION. Anyone who says Founders should’ve expected this turnout was not there the last several years. This release exploded into an absolutely shi*show that could not have been anticipated. For those that spent all night there and would’ve been in the top 300, it sucks you lost 12 bottles, but at the same time, this is beer we’re talking about. Get on with your life and stop acting like you were unforgiveably wronged. How many great things did you experience while at Founders beyond having your allotment cut? If you didn’t have a good time, than why were you there? The experience of sharing good brews with good friends is what these releases are really about. If you stood in line for 12 hours and were miserable the whole time, just to buy KBS, you’re no different than some loser at Foot Locker waiting to buy the new Jordans for 12 hours. The impact on your life is nil…

    Basically, the hoards of beer geeks (or beer assholes it seems), have grown out of control in a short period. I for one love KBS, but will not be attending this event again because its not worth spending a night in frigid temps to get it (it’s just beer, albeit a fantastic one). Founders provides a great experience to those who visit. I had one the other day even though I got no KBS to bring home. I will visit again, and will continue to give my $ to Founders because they make many excellent beers. It sickens me that people get so worked up about something so insignificant. People are acting like something so horrific was done to them. From the outside looking in, I’m sorry you stood in line for 12 hours and got 12 bottles of KBS, but only enough to say it one time.

    In the future, I’d love to see Founders keep more beer at the brewery for those who show up to the release, but what’s done is done. If I’m lucky, I’ll get my hands on a four-pack somewhere this week, but probably not, and that’s okay.

    • I agree with the decent attitude in your post. I only disagree with your assumption that “This release exploded into an absolutely shi*show that could not have been anticipated”. It could easily have been anticipated.
      All you have to do is look around at other breweries and see the response to special beers and can fairly well predict what will happen. If Founders came in at 7AM and was shocked by the turnout then someone at Founders has been asleep at the wheel for a very long time. They should have known what was coming and made adjustments several days ahead of time. Make an early announcement that the allotment would be cut. Blog it, publish it, announce it,the word would get out. Since they didnt then you can assume nobody there is paying attention (has their ear to the ground)or it was intentional. I prefer the former as I dont think any sane buisness would want the backlash.

  60. I have never had the pleasure of drinking a KBS, but am hoping beyond hope that I am so lucky to score a 4 pack of it, so that my buddy and I can split it. I would be more than happy to have 2 of these to sip on a special occasion, and it kills me to hear about these greedy people who are angry that they didn’t get what they felt they were entitled to. Many of these same people probably turned around and put it on e-bay for $80 a 4 pack and are mad because they were counting on making several hundred dollars off of someone else’s hard work. Keep up the great work, Founders! You make a great product, don’t be discouraged by the ignorants among us. These people aren’t beer lovers, every beer lover I’ve ever met is happy just to have a good beer on occasion, not hoard and say screw the rest of you, I was here first.

  61. michael Leonardi

    Where’s the pictures from the release?

  62. Ben

    I wasn’t at the party but just stood in line at my local shop here in Atlanta and didn’t get any because they only had a few cases. They were gone in 15 minutes. I was even on twitter waiting on the announcement that it was in stock, drove straight there, and it was long gone. I love some Founder’s but these special releases, across all breweries, are getting RIDICULOUS. It’s breeding an atmosphere of collector’s who make money off of reselling it.

    Or, it’s breeding an environment where only a select few can enjoy it.

    I love KBS and usually drink 3 throughout the year and cellar 1 (I was only allowed 1 freaking 4 pack last year) but now I’d rather not even bother. It’s not worth breaking my back to get some.

    I don’t expect Founder’s to change because it’s only beneficial for them to have this kind of buzz but this, and this whole side of craft beer, has left a bad taste in my mouth.

    Keep making good beer though.

    Cheers, Ben

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