The kickass live shows in our Taproom bring a ton of energy to the front of the house, but behind the golden curtain – deep in the heart of the brewery – we’re rocking just as hard.
Ladies and gents, time to turn it on and turn it up. From Bootsy Collins to Built to Spill, here are some of the songs the production team are currently jamming to:
For a direct link to this playlist, click here. To follow Founders on Spotify, click here.
What song would you suggest the brewer’s consider for next month? Comment below!
As we gear up for Stout Season, we’re also saying goodbye to a dear friend. The baby of Breakfast Stout is taking some time away from his crib after being booted from the label in our home state of Michigan. However, you’ll continue to see that familiar face in all other states within our distribution footprint – and soon!
So what to do when the law is laid down? We say have a little fun with it. The new Michigan label features a note from our small friend with instructions on how to reach him while he’s away. Just wait and see!
As for New Hampshire, we’re awaiting a decision from the powers that be. Stay tuned to Twitter for an update on which label will appear on shelves this September.
We’re excited to announce that we’ve partnered with Premier Distributing Co. to offer our beers throughout the state of New Mexico beginning in October 2015!
“We’re thrilled to work with Premier Distributing Co. to offer Founders for the first time in New Mexico,” said Co-Founder & CEO Mike Stevens. “The addition of new markets is always exciting, and New Mexico affords us a great opportunity to reach a new audience of beer enthusiasts.”
We will offer all of our year-round and seasonal beers in bottles, cans (as applicable) and kegs throughout the state. There may also be some limited releases available at select craft beer retailers following the launch—stay tuned to our events page and Twitter handle for launch event information.
Check out all of the states in which Founders is available here.
IPA Day? Make that IPA Month! Aromatic, hop-heavy IPAs are the perfect way to celebrate, and we’ve got a few. From the sessionable All Day IPA to the smooth and bitter finish of Double Trouble with its 86 IBUs, there’s something for everyone.
Between August 3 and September 3, check-in to two (2) of our four (4) available IPA offerings on Untappd – All Day IPA, Centennial IPA, Red’s Rye IPA and Double Trouble to unlock the Founders Hop Fourward badge. Give all four a try while you’re at it!
We’re excited to announce that we’re going to release Spectra Trifecta, brewed in the traditional Kolsch style, this September. Proceeds from the sale of this new beer will benefit ArtPrize, the world’s largest art competition that takes place annually in Grand Rapids, Mich. Spectra Trifecta will be sold in 12 oz. bottles in Michigan, Wisconsin, greater New York City and greater Chicago with a suggested retail price of $9.99 per 6-pack. Draft will be sent throughout Founders’ distribution footprint.
In April 2013 the two organizations inked a deal that made Founders the official brewery of ArtPrize for the next five years. The premier leadership sponsorship deal included offering Founders beer at all official ArtPrize events, signage, promotion, merchandise, specialized glassware and other items. It also included permission for Founders to use the ArtPrize identity marks (logo and graphics) on any co-packaged items, including beer. Founders expects to release a new beer for each year of its five-year partnership with ArtPrize under the name “Artist Series”. This is year three. Last year’s release was Mosaic Promise, and the 2013 release was Inspired Artist Black IPA.
“I love coming up with the recipe for the ArtPrize beer every year,” said Founders Brewmaster Jeremy Kosmicki. “For the past two years, I’ve worked on our pilot system to develop an approachable, lower alcohol beer with tons of flavor. This year’s beer is brewed using a different fermentation process than what we usually use, and is made with some fun, nontraditional ingredients.”
Brewed in the traditional Kolsch style, which requires fermenting ale yeast at a colder temperature and gives the beer a clean finish without fruity yeast esters. This bright, golden beer is brewed with a trifecta of natural ingredients: earthy, floral and slightly sweet chamomile; a touch of citrusy lemongrass; and a hint of spicy fresh ginger. At 5.9% ABV and 20 IBUs, it’s delightfully refreshing.
Founders Family members were given the opportunity to submit their portfolios to find an artistic match for the Spectra Trifecta label, without knowing anything about the beer. Alexis Brooke’s nature-inspired pen and ink drawings fit well with the character of this beer, so she was selected to create the label, with a focus on illustrating the beer’s special ingredients. Alexis is a Grand Rapids native and has been a Founders employee since fall 2014, working in the deli and on the catering team. She’s a musician first, with a passion for singing and playing the blues, and has played a couple of shows in the Founders taproom. But Alexis has drawn since she was a kid. A self-educated artist, Alexis is inspired by nature and a deep love for animals. She created this mixed media piece with markers, ink and watercolors.
Proceeds from the sale of Spectra Trifecta will support the future programming of the ArtPrize organization. ArtPrize is an international art competition, open to any artist and decided by public vote. Its mission is to promote critical dialogue and collaboration through new, creative ideas among a large and diverse population of people. As an innovator in redefining what beer can be, Founders believes that experimentation is central to the human experience—whether one experiments with grains and hops or markers and watercolors—and that sharing one’s creation with the public is a brave act worth celebrating.
“Founders is now undoubtedly one of the finest craft brewers not only in Michigan but in the entire United States,” said Christian Gaines, executive director of ArtPrize. “We’re immeasurably proud to call Founders the official ArtPrize Brewery and share in the excitement of their new special release, Spectra Trifecta—a culmination of our partnership, built upon a mutual passion for our community and the creativity that resides within it.”
More than 400,000 people are expected to attend ArtPrize Seven this fall.
Founders also partnered with ArtPrize to launch ArtPrize on Tap, now in its second year. From the patios of the Centennial Room, Founders’ private second-floor entertainment space, ArtPrize on Tap offers ArtClub members the opportunity to connect year-round and stay on the ArtPrize insider track, while enjoying Founders food and beer. Founders will premiere Spectra Trifecta at the August installment of ArtPrize on Tap. Held on the third Wednesday of every month, ArtPrize on Tap is free for ArtClub members, and friends of ArtPrize and Founders can join for $10. To learn more, visit artprize.org/artclub.
Spectra Trifecta will be available for a limited time starting on Sunday, September 13, in Michigan, Wisconsin, metro NYC and Chicagoland in bottles and across Founders’ entire distribution footprint on draft. It will be released in the brewery’s taproom on draft and in bottles starting on Monday, September 14. Spectra Trifecta will be featured at official ArtPrize events.
This year marks the seventh edition of ArtPrize, which will take place Sept. 23–Oct. 11, 2015. The Founders taproom will be a venue for the seventh year running.
We plan to release reDANKulous Imperial Red IPA in August 2015 to mark the thirteenth installment in our popular Backstage Series. Like all Backstage Series beers, reDANKulous will be sold in 750mL bottles, and it will have a suggested retail price of $9.99 per bottle.
reDANKulous Imperial Red IPA is a no frills, bold 9.5% ABV India Pale Ale. It pours a pleasing burnt amber with some sweetness due to the Caramalt and roasted barley used in the malt bill. But hops are the true headliner in this elaborate sensory experience. The spicy, piney, tropical complexities of Chinook, Mosaic and Simcoe hops hit you right away with their dank aroma—and they stick around. Take a sip to have your palate simultaneously walloped and caressed in all the right places. Combined, the hops take the beer to 90 IBUs. It’s not just ridiculous. It’s reDANKulous.
“We love hops,” said Co-Founder and President Dave Engbers. “Simple as that. Our brewers love to experiment with new varieties, new combinations and new techniques. This dank beer is a fun, intense showcase of hops. We hope all of you hop heads out there enjoy it.”
Update: reDANKulous will be released in limited quantities in our taproom and across our distribution footprint beginning on Wednesday, August 19. This will be the second Backstage Series release from Founders in 2015; beer enthusiasts should expect one more release from Founders later in the year.
Check out the making of the reDANKulous label here:
Centennial IPA is a celebration of the classic American hop variety. It spotlights the floral aroma and citrus accents of Centennial hops, but has remained a go-to IPA for years because of the malt balance that keeps it from being one-dimensional. So don’t just have one. Have two. One for each of the angels on the label. If you do, you’ll earn the Founders Bi – Centennial badge.
By checking into at least two Centennial IPAs between June 8 and July 8 on Untappd, you can unlock the “Founders Bi – Centennial” badge.
We’ve partnered with Johnson Brothers to offer our beers across the Dakotas and in Western Minnesota beginning in June 2015. Beer enthusiasts in these markets will now have the opportunity to enjoy Founders’ world-class products without having to leave their hometowns.
“We’re looking forward to getting our beer to all of the Midwestern states with our new partners Johnson Brothers,” said Co-Founder & CEO Mike Stevens. “As we continue the progress on our facility expansion, it’s going to allow us get our beer to even more enthusiasts this year. And we’re starting with some of our neighbors.”
Founders plans to include all of its year-round and seasonal ales in kegs in the first shipments to these markets, and will follow with cans and bottles in the late summer. There may also be some limited release available at select craft beer retailers following the launch—stay tuned to our events page and Twitter handle for launch event information.
Check out all of the states in which Founders is available here.
Not another boring summer wheat beer or lemonade shandy—Rubaeus pure raspberry ale is Founders’ way to celebrate the warmer months. It doesn’t have a boring name, either. But, because it’s a made-up word, beer enthusiasts can struggle with its pronunciation. (Don’t worry, it’s not just you!) Check in to this beer on Untappd and get a badge that will help you remember how to say “roo-bay-us” the next time you order it. And the next and the next.
By checking into Rubaeus on Untappd, you can unlock the “Founders Rubaeus / roo-bay-us” badge. This badge is available for a limited time only, May 1 through June 1.
The Discovery of King Tut, an exhibit that allows visitors to experience what it was like for Howard Carter and his team when they first discovered the tomb of Tutakhamun in 1922, is coming to the Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) this spring–and the museum has asked us to make a special beer in honor of it!
Brewmaster Jeremy Kosmicki is working on a recipe for Untombed Ale, which will be a sweet, thick-bodied, low ABV ancient Egyptian beer interpreted in a modern Founders way. The beer will be blood red in color and brewed with plenty of wheat and toasted biscuit malt to give it a bready character. Because hops didn’t exist in ancient Egypt, Jeremy will be using herbs and spices in their place; dates and honey are traditional ingredients that will also be incorporated in the recipe. The beer will be available on at GRPM’s special opening preview party “A Night on the Nile” on Friday, May 15, as well as in our taproom while supplies last. It will be a draft-only release, and there are no current plans to release it out to the Founders distribution footprint.
Tickets for the exhibit go on sale next Monday, March 30. They will be available via grpm.org, or by calling 616.456.3977. Museum members will receive discounted admission. Visit grpm.org for more information. Tickets are currently available for the opening party “A Night on the Nile” on May 15 at grpm.org. The exhibition will open to the public on Saturday, May 16, 2015 at 12 noon.
Who doesn’t love watching a classic film with a beer in hand? What if that beer were a Founders, and you were watching the movie on the big screen in Beer City USA? Our friends at Celebration! Cinema are hosting us for Brewed for Film: A Movie Series, and we couldn’t be more excited. The movie and beer pairings below have been hand-selected by our team for the ultimate theatre viewing experience:
March 25: The Godfather paired with Imperial Stout
April 1: This Is Spinal Tap paired with Black Rye
April 8: Caddyshack paired with All Day IPA
April 15: Grumpy Old Men paired with Curmudgeon Old Ale
April 22: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels paired with Dirty Bastard
April 29: The Shawshank Redemption paired with Red’s Rye IPA
May 6: BeerFest paired with Centennial IPA
May 13: Shaun of the Dead paired with Pale Ale
May 20: The Graduate paired with [Dark, Rich & Sexy] Porter
May 27: Wet Hot American Summer paired with Rubaeus
Mark your calendars, and join us each Wednesday at 8pm at Celebration! Cinema Grand Rapids North. Movie tickets are only $1 each. Get there early because there will be trivia with Founders and Celebration! giveaways as prizes! The movies will take us right up to [a Hot Wet American] summer. Who knows, maybe we’ll announce some more show times at that point. Stay tuned…
Unlike some other alcoholic beverages, beer has many expressions—differences in the aroma, flavor and color of beers are wide-ranging. Mouthfeel is another thing that varies from beer to beer, and the carbonation process has a lot to do with it. Most beers are carbonated with CO2, but nitrogen can also be used. Nitrogen-infused beers are distinctly creamier than their CO2 counterparts. Try our Nitro Pale Ale side-by-side with its CO2-powered counterpart for a pure mouthfeel comparison, since the two beers are brewed with the exact same ingredients. Or opt for our Nitro Oatmeal Stout, a taproom staple that we decided to share with our distribution footprint last year, for a Founders take on a classic style.
By checking into one of our two nitro beers, available on draft only, you can earn your stache—your nitro stache, that is. Check-in to either Nitro Oatmeal Stout OR Nitro Pale Ale to unlock the “Founders Nitro Stache” badge on Untappd. This badge is available for a limited time only, March 3 through April 3. Be sure to track these two great beers down to get your badge—and take a picture of your nitro stache while you’re at it! Share it with us using #brewedfor nitro staches.
Contrary to popular belief, beer doesn’t have to be rare, hard to find or made with some obscure ingredient to be world class. Sometimes the truly world class beers are those you see on the shelves or at the pub year-round. We pride ourselves on our year-round arsenal of bold, uncompromising, well-crafted beers..
Celebrate our year-round offerings with our most recent Untappd badge, “Founders Year-Round Arsenal”. You can unlock this badge by checking into at least two of the following year-round beers on Untappd between February 2 and March 2:
We’re happy to announce the second annual KBS Week, in honor of the release of Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) this year. The beer will be available starting March 30 across our distribution footprint, but visitors to and residents of Grand Rapids will be able to enjoy it March 9–14.
KBS is our most infamous beer. It’s included in lists of the best beers in the world published by sources ranging from RateBeer to Business Insider. It’s inherently a limited release because it ages in bourbon barrels for a year in the caves beneath Grand Rapids. In years past, beer enthusiasts like you have crashed web servers with the traffic caused by your interest in this beer, and we’ve had people camping outside the brewery in frigid temperatures so they can be first to get their share.
Last year, for the first time, we decided to open up the release so that people coming to Grand Rapids for KBS could enjoy all of Beer City USA—and it was a success. Once again this year, fifteen Founders-supporting craft-beer-centric bars and restaurants in the Grand Rapids area will each tap a keg of KBS on a day and time of their choosing between March 9 and 13. KBS Week will culminate with the Founders taproom release party, where KBS will be poured all day on Saturday, March 14.
Bottles of KBS available for pickup in our taproom will be released using a pre-ticketed reservation process on EventBrite. Bottles can be reserved beginning on Saturday, February 14, at 11am EST, and they will be available for pickup March 10–14. Ticket proceeds will go to Grand Rapids Whitewater.
“It’s a blast working with our wholesaler and retailer partners to turn the release of KBS into something that celebrates the entire West Michigan beer community,” said Co-Founder and President Dave Engbers. “We wouldn’t be where we are today—and KBS wouldn’t have the same notoriety—if it weren’t for our incredible local partners and their support over the years. We have wholesaler sales teams, bar owners, knowledgeable bartenders, skilled chefs and many more to thank. This week is a celebration for all of us. Last year was fun, and we think this year will be even better.”
A handful of area hotels will be offering KBS week packages—including discounted room rates, limited edition gear in rooms and more—with information available on the Experience Grand Rapids website. About 100 people reserved these packages last year, an exciting sign that craft beer has the power to bring visitors to West Michigan.
KBS will be available throughout Michigan beginning on Monday, March 16, and throughout the rest of our footprint beginning on Monday, March 30.
For full KBS Week details, head to kbsweek.com.
Pulled from our recipe vault back in 2006, Black Rye Is Back. Before Black IPAs were all the rage, we made a dry-hopped dark ale with copious amounts of rye malt. Black Rye is a perfectly balanced blend of German- and American-grown hops, premium 2-row barley and heavily kilned rye and wheat malts. As with many of our offerings, there’s no style category that can contain this beer. It carries 7.5% ABV and 78 IBUs and is a true original. Check-in to drinking our newest seasonal, Black Rye, on Untappd in order to get the Black Rye Is Back badge! The badge is available January 6 through February 6–all you have to do is check-in to drinking this beer.
Please see below for our 2015 availability calendar–it shows everything all in one place, for your beer planning needs.
Note that we will be continuing the release of our 750mL Backstage Series beers in 2014, with brands and timing yet to be determined. Stay tuned…
Happy Holidays! Cheers to another great year ahead!
Dear Beer Enthusiasts,
Founders was first dreamt up about 20 years ago, when my fellow co-founder Dave and I were in college, imagining what we wanted to do with the rest of our lives. We were admittedly a bit foolhardy back in those days. The first chapter of our story was marked by years of struggle, to the point where we were on the brink of bankruptcy in the early 2000s. We turned things around with our “Brewed for Us” philosophy in the second chapter of the brewery, but it wasn’t until the third chapter, when we moved to our current facility in 2007, that we started to get some real recognition and were able to grow to meet increasing demand.
Over the course of the past several months, Dave and I realized that we were coming upon the time to bring on a long-term partner to help us grow our brand on a larger scale—to move into the brewery’s next chapter. Founders has become recognized as one of the leaders in the craft beer segment. In considering the legacy of our brand, we knew that diversifying our ownership would allow Founders to thrive for many future generations. It’s important to us that Founders becomes a multi-generational brewery with roots in the culture that we’ve built right here in Grand Rapids.
The right partner will help drive our growth. Despite the continued expansion of our facility in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, plenty of beer enthusiasts still don’t have access to our beer. Some of them (including some of you reading this right now) have been asking us about bringing Founders to their hometowns for years; others don’t yet know what they’re missing. We have plans for continued growth that will get the beer that we’re so proud of into more hands and that will help solidify Founders as a leading craft brewery for years to come.
After a lot of reflection, we decided that it was important to partner with a brewer, not a bank. We considered many options and felt most comfortable partnering with a brewer because they have the best understanding of our world: We all get up every day and head to work, where we make beer. We wanted and needed a partner like us, that was product-driven and that cared about the longevity of their beer, their craft, their values, their community and their culture more than short-term financial results.
We are honored to announce that Mahou San Miguel (Mahou), Spain’s most prominent and oldest brewer, will be our new partner. Mahou is a 125-year-old seventh-generation-family-owned brewery based in Madrid, and they are coming on as a minority investor in Founders.
Mahou will help us grow to be an internationally recognized brand. They’re looking at this investment as a long-term partnership, and they’re excited to help grow Founders throughout their extensive global distribution footprint. Mahou’s financial stability opens doors to new opportunities for us.
Mahou shares many of our values. Family comes first to them, just as it does to the Founders Family. Mahou has been family-owned for its entire 125-year history; the family’s matriarch still runs the board despite being in her 80s. They are committed to quality and authenticity, just as we are.
Founders will remain Founders. Nothing will change—well, not any more that it does in a usual month at Founders, during a facility expansion, no less. We are committed to growing here in Grand Rapids. The brewery will stay here, and our beers will not change—though we’ll keep innovating. The entire Founders Family will stay intact. In fact, we’ll continue to grow the Founders Family as we have been for the past handful of years.
Perhaps the most important reason why this partnership makes sense at this point in the Founders story is we are poised to redefine beer around the globe, and Mahou is looking forward to helping us do that. Mahou admires what we’re doing, and both breweries recognize that we can change the world’s perception of beer more effectively if we work together.
This partnership will not affect our domestic distribution footprint, our existing wholesaler partnerships or where and how we go to market. However, Mahou will bring unique experience and strong networks to help us build our brand internationally, in Spain and beyond, which is very exciting.
With this partnership, Mahou’s assumed a 30% minority ownership in Founders that allows us to afford some liquidity to our long-standing shareholders. Many of our early investors are aging, and we believe it’s fair that they have the opportunity to realize a portion of their significant investments in the brewery. This is our way of saying thank you for their loyal support over the years.
This is a moment of pride and celebration for this brewery that the Founders Family has poured our blood, sweat and tears into. The liquid speaks for itself. American craft brewing has moved from a hobby to an internationally recognized industry. The world has taken notice, and this partnership will allow us to continue to blow more and more people away with Founders beers. We’re thrilled to be at the forefront of redefining what beer can be in Grand Rapids, in Michigan, in the United States, and, soon, around the globe.
We can’t thank you enough for your support over the years. While we’ve changed a ton over the past 17 years, our brand, our culture and our Founders Family are still the most important factors in what makes Founders something we’re all proud to be a part of. We remain committed to those things above all.
Thanks for joining us on this incredible ride so far. Hang on, because it’s nowhere near over.
Mike Stevens & Dave Engbers
We plan to re-release Blushing Monk, a decadent Belgian raspberry ale, in March 2015 to mark the twelfth installment in our popular Backstage Series. Blushing Monk was the original Founders Backstage Series beer, released in July 2011; prior to that, it hadn’t been bottled for four years. Like all of Founders’ Backstage Series beers, Blushing Monk will be sold in 750mL bottles, with a suggested retail price of $16.99 per bottle.
Blushing Monk is brewed with a ridiculous amount of raspberries and with a Belgian yeast strain that keeps our head cellar operator from sleeping for a week. It pours a stunning deep berry red and, at 9.2% ABV, has a surprising kick. The perfect dessert beer, it can be enjoyed on its own or paired with fresh cheeses, fruit, cakes and more.
“People keep asking us if we’re going to bring any of our Backstage Series beers back—and now we have,” said Co-Founder and President Dave Engbers. “It seems as though we brew Blushing Monk on a four-year cycle. Our cellar crew hates brewing it because it’s brewed with a different yeast strain from all of our other beers, but we think it’s worth the sleepless nights. It’s an absolutely gorgeous beer.”
Founders’ Backstage Series is made up of boundary-pushing, experimental beers. The intent of the series is to take the diehard Founders fan experience to a wider audience—though all of the beers are released in limited batches. Since its introduction in the summer of 2011, Founders’ Backstage Series beers have quickly become some of the most sought-after releases in the industry.
Blushing Monk will be released in limited quantities across our distribution footprint beginning on Monday, March 2, and will be available at the brewery’s taproom and in the greater West Michigan area the week prior. This will be the first Backstage Series release from Founders in 2015; beer enthusiasts should expect two more releases from Founders later in the year.
We plan to reintroduce Black Rye, a dry-hopped dark ale brewed with copious amounts of rye malt, as a seasonal release in January 2015 with availability through March. Black Rye will be available throughout our distribution footprint both on draft and in 12 oz. bottles with a suggested retail price of $10.99 per 4-pack.
We brewed Black Rye for the first time in 2006—it was available for less than a year, but it developed a cult following. And we decided to reach into our recipe vault and bring it back for 2015.
“Because of how quickly the craft beer enthusiast community has grown, most people drinking craft beer and even Founders beer today have never tried Black Rye,” said Dave Engbers, co-founder and vice president of brand and education. “Officially, this beer is a re-introduction. But for most, it’s a new Founders beer.”
Black Rye is a perfectly balanced blend of German- and American-grown hops, premium 2-row barley and heavily kilned rye and wheat malts. It’s 7.5% ABV and measures at 78 IBUs. There’s no category that can contain it—it’s a true Founders original.
“Black Rye is one of those beers that we kept coming back to in our conversations about new releases,” said Jeremy Kosmicki, Founders’ brewmaster. “There are so many craft beers out there, but this one has its place because there’s nothing else quite like it.”
Black Rye will kick off our seasonal calendar in 2015, with availability from roughly January to March, dependent on distributor shipments. It will be released in our taproom on draft and in bottles as of January 2015. Our other seasonal releases in 2015 will be Rubaeus, from April to September, and Breakfast Stout, from October to December. Our full 2015 availability calendar will be announced later this year.
We announced today that we plan to expand our brewery production facility at our current site, 235 Grandville Ave SW. Pending approvals, we expect to break ground on this expansion in late October.
The expansion will take place in two phases: the first phase will involve the addition of approximately 37,000 square feet comprised of space for new production equipment, including a new 300 barrel (bbl) brew house and new fermentation tanks, as well as additional offices. The second phase will add approximately 20,000 square feet of space for more fermenting and packaging equipment.
“The focus of this expansion is to increase the capacity of our production facility—to brew more beer right here in Grand Rapids, Michigan,” said Mike Stevens, our co-founder and CEO. “Because of increasing demand from the growing beer enthusiast community, we aren’t able to fill orders right now. We’re expanding because we’re committed to this city, this state and the craft beer community.”
After both phases of the expansion, the Founders production facility will have the footprint for 900,000 bbl of capacity, which will be achieved incrementally through the addition of more fermenters and updated packaging equipment. We expect to end 2014 having shipped 200,000 bbl of beer and to ship 300,000 bbl in 2015.
We also plan to add 72 jobs over three years, ranging from managerial to operations to sales positions, generated by this expansion.