We’re partnering with Untappd to do a special Founders Hop Head badge that Untappd users will be able to unlock for one month, from June 27 to July 27.
What does this mean?
For those familiar, it’s similar to becoming a “mayor” on Foursquare. Untappd is a mobile app that allows users to “check-in” to drinking different beers. During the month that our badge is active, Untappd users will have the opportunity to unlock it (a.k.a. earn it) if they like us on Untappd and then check-in to drinking at least 2 of our hoppy beers. Included in that list are the following offerings:
- Centennial IPA
- Red’s Rye PA
- All Day IPA
- Double Trouble
- Devil Dancer
And, if you hadn’t noticed, we keep a running tab of all Untappd checkins of our beers on certain pages of our website. Check out the Latest Checkins posts on the right hand side of the Our Beer page right here for an example.
Do you have what it takes to be a Founders Hop Head?
We announced today that we will introduce Inspired Artist Black IPA, a powerhouse IPA brewed using malted midnight wheat and a unique variety of hops with tropical characteristics, this August. Proceeds from the sale of this new ale will benefit ArtPrize, the world’s largest art competition that takes place annually here in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Inspired Artist will be sold in the state of Michigan both on draft and in 12 oz. bottles with a suggested retail price of $9.99 per 6-pack.
In April 2013 we inked a deal with the organization to make us the official brewery of ArtPrize for the next five years. The premier leadership sponsorship deal included offering our beer at all official ArtPrize events, signage, promotion, merchandise, specialized glassware and other items. It also included permission for us to use the ArtPrize identity marks (logo and graphics) on any co-packaged items, including beer. We expect to release a new beer for each year of our five-year partnership with ArtPrize.
“When we started talking with ArtPrize about a partnership, we knew we wanted to make a unique beer in honor of the annual event,” said Dave Engbers, our co-founder and vice president of brand and education. “Black IPA is a boundary-pushing style that felt like a good fit to pair with ArtPrize, an organization that encourages conversations around the definition of art.”
Inspired Artist Black IPA gets its color from a malted black wheat base; the interesting style that results in the malt bill’s fight to balance the plentiful hops used will make you think twice about what a black beer should be. It clocks in at 7.5% ABV and an impressive 88 IBUs.
Proceeds from the sale of Inspired Artist Black IPA 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, we believe that experimentation is central to the human experience—whether one experiments with grains and hops or paints and clays—and that sharing one’s creation with the public is a brave act worth celebrating. More than 400,000 people are expected to attend ArtPrize 2013.
“Art brings us together in conversation, just like the experience with a good beer,” said Christian Gaines, executive director of ArtPrize. “We are thrilled to have Founders as our official brewery and Inspired Artist Black IPA as a new, specially co-packaged beer to enhance the community’s experience.”
Inspired Artist Black IPA will be available for a limited time starting on Monday, August 26, across our Michigan distribution footprint. It will be released in our taproom on draft starting on Monday, August 26, as well [Note: this date has been edited since original posting]. Bottle availability in our taproom will follow. Inspired Artist Black IPA will be featured at official ArtPrize events.
This year marks the fifth edition of ArtPrize, which will take place Sept. 18 – Oct. 6, 2013. Our taproom will be a venue for the fifth year running.
About the artist who created this label
Unencumbered by rules, Kevin O’Rourke bridges wide varieties of artistic disciplines in his work, fusing elements of graphic design and advertising verve into frenetic art. His work is nationally lauded and has been featured on concert posters for artists ranging from The Flaming Lips to Sonic Youth. He is a graduate of Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Check out more of his work right here.
A huge thank you to the people of Philly for showing Founders such a great time during Philly Beer Week 2013!
Extra special thanks to the following spots for hosting us during the week:
Our brewery band, the FBC All-Stars, had a great time playing their first show on the road at World Cafe Live along with Workout! We hope to do it again.
Over the last couple of months we have been tight on production, and we have watched warehouse inventories, including ours and those of our distributors, affected by a perfect storm of activity. The good news is we’ve watched sales in our existing markets continue well beyond the craft industry average, and thus we’ve had to continue expanding our facility to meet future needs. The not-so-good news is our production facility expansion—with our brew house extension, improvements made to our bottling line, the installation of a high-speed canning line and the addition of several 600 bbl fermenters, all taking longer than anticipated—has affected our ability to provide proper inventory quantities for all of our markets.
After several months of effort, we can now say the end is near, and we are wrapping up our production facility updates. However, during this process, we had to undergo downtimes, which led to inventory levels becoming significantly reduced. It’s important for us to maintain a focus on our core brands in our current markets; as such, we must make some difficult decisions.
In the best interest of our wholesaler partners, retail accounts and craft beer consumers, we will hold off opening planned new markets at this time, including Florida, which was scheduled for a July launch. We also will not be introducing the new package launch of All Day IPA in 12-pack cans next month. Please know that these difficult moves affect many parts of our business but should be done for both short- and long-term success. Until we have built up core brand inventories in all markets again and are comfortable in meeting existing demand, these opportunities must wait a bit longer.
We are confident this won’t take long and hope to be able to embark on these new projects as soon as possible. We appreciate your support and your patience with us as we grow.
We plan to introduce Mango Magnifico con Calor [Magnificent Mango with Heat], a fruit beer brewed with mango and a touch of habanero, this August to mark the seventh installment in our Backstage Series. Like all Backstage Series beers, Mango Magnifico will be sold in 750mL bottles. It will have a suggested retail price of $12.99 per bottle.
Mango Magnifico is a never-before-released, high-gravity fruit beer brewed with mango and Michigan-grown habaneros. Each 750mL bottle of this 10% ABV ale is intended to be shared. Not a traditional fruit beer, the delicate tropical fruit in Mango Magnifico is punctuated by a hint of heat, increasing the overall depth of flavor and adding another level of complexity. It will be a refreshing drink for the warm summer months.
“Mango Magnifico, like the entire Backstage Series, is intended to push the boundaries of what is commonly accepted in beer styles,” said Co-Founder and Vice President of Brand & Education Dave Engbers. “The Backstage Series is the perfect conduit to showcase our brewing team’s creativity.”
We’ve had success with their interpretation of fruit beers, including the likes of Cerise, Rubaeus and Blushing Monk. But Mango Magnifico is one-of-a-kind.
Mango Magnifico will be released in limited quantities across our distribution footprint beginning on Monday, August 5, and will be available at the brewery’s taproom the week prior. We expect to release one more Backstage Series beer in 2013.
Co-founder Dave Engbers toasted to Beer City USA Grand Rapids in our taproom on Monday, May 20, at 6:16pm. Check it out:
Thanks to our very own Kevin Cole for capturing this!
Also, be sure to check out The Beer Truck’s photos from the evening.
Announcing the beer that won the vote for the Pure Michigan contest that we closed out at the beginning of this month: Vanilla Stout! Thanks to the over 1,200 of you that voted for your choice! Vanilla Stout was in a close race with Apple Ale at the end and only won by a handful of votes.
Our brewmaster Jeremy Kosmicki is working on formulating the recipe, and it will be on tap only in our taproom throughout the month of July to celebrate Michigan Craft Beer Month. We hope to see you here in Grand Rapids this summer to try this one-of-a-kind beer—be sure to look for Pure Michigan Vanilla Stout on our chalkboard.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in partnership with the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Department of the Interior has announced that the Urban Waters Federal Partnership is including the Grand River is one of 11 new locations that they’ve pinpointed to restore waterways, help local economies, create jobs and protect Americans’ health. Essentially, the Urban Waters Federal Partnership is a group of 12 federal agencies that coordinate and pull together local bodies to help projects like Grand Rapids Whitewater come to fruition.
Grand Rapids Whitewater (GRWW) is a project that is near and dear to our hearts that is looking to restore the Rapids to the Grand (River). We’ve kept you up-to-date on the project’s progress and have donated proceeds from special release tickets sold for our on-site releases to the cause. This is a project that will create neighborhoods, that will bring businesses and people downtown, and that will connect the city of Grand Rapids around the Grand River, which is why this city was founded in the first place. As GRWW co-founder Chris Muller says, “When someone says, ‘Grand Rapids…but where are the rapids?’ I’d love to point at something.” We would, too, and that’s why our co-founders and business partners have been behind this cause from day 1, donating the seed money to get the program off the ground.
The federal announcement in support of this project took place at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, May 10, at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids. In attendance were the chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the acting administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow and officials from the U.S. departments of Interior and Agriculture(see photo above).
The 11 new project locations are:
- Big River and Meramec Watersheds in St. Louis, Mo
- Delaware River Basin (Cooper River) that covers Philadelphia, Camden, N.J., Chester, Pa., and Wilmington, Del.
- Grand River in Grand Rapids, Mich.
- Green-Duwamish River in Seattle
- Mystic River Watershed in Greater Boston
- Martin Pena Canal in San Juan, P.R.
- Middle Blue River in Kansas City, Mo.
- Middle Rio Grande in Albuquerque, N.M.
- Passaic River in Passaic, N.J.
- Proctor Creek Watershed in Atlanta
- Western Lake Erie Basin in Toledo, Ohio
Check out this announcement in the Wall Street Journal for more information.
And here’s an artist’s rendering of what the Grand River will look like with the rapids restored:
It was announced today that our hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan, won the vote again for Beer City USA, and this time Grand Rapids won it outright. We shared the title with Asheville, North Carolina, last year.
Our fellow Michigan cities Kalamazoo and Ann Arbor also made the top ten list this year.
Check the announcement, with final vote counts and more information, made by Charlie Papazian right here
. This announcement also marks the kickoff of American Craft Beer Week
, which lasts May 13 through May 19 and is a celebration of the culture and community of small and independent craft breweries here in the U.S.
Thanks to everyone who voted in the Beer City USA poll, and we hope to see you out (and online) celebrating craft beer this week!
Let’s get ready to rally! Beer City USA voting began today and ends on Saturday, May 11 at 2am EST.
Our hometown of Grand Rapids, MI, shared the title with Asheville, NC, last year, a city that had held the title for three years running before we tied with them.
Important Voting Details
- Those running the voting this year have communicated that they are going to only allow one vote per IP address, so it is extra important to spread the word to all of your friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, strangers, etc.
- Real time voting results will not be viewable during this year’s voting period, unlike last year when anyone who visited the voting page was able to see what cities were pulling ahead. This means it’s important to keep the momentum going all week long!
- If you’re on Twitter, the hashtag for voting and sharing info is #beercitygr.
Head over to the Pure Michigan blog to vote for a Pure Michigan beer that we’ll pour in our taproom during the month of July to celebrate Michigan Craft Beer Month. Now through Friday, May 3, you can vote on the beer style that you want to see available in our taproom: Vanilla Stout, Apple Ale or Wheat IPA. We haven’t brewed these beers before, and we’ll be ordering ingredients and brewing based on what all of you choose. Vote here!
A time lapse video of our north cellar expansion, which began in November 2012 and finished up at the beginning of this month. The video shows completion of an addition to the Founders cellar space both from outside of the building and from the interior, as well as adding new fermentation tanks and ripping down a wall in the packaging hall.
Videographer: Kevin “The Scientist” Cole
Music by Jason Heystek, Founders Brewing Co.’s Head Cellar Operator
ArtPrize, the radically open, international art competition, today announced that we have signed on as a premier leadership sponsor and will be the official brewery of ArtPrize for the next five years. The agreement will allow both us and ArtPrize to capitalize on our respective platforms and nationwide growth.
“We approached ArtPrize because we love this community and we love what the event has done for this city,” said Mike Stevens, co-founder and CEO of Founders Brewing Co. “Our taproom has been a venue since year one, so we anticipate ArtPrize, just like everyone else. We chose to increase our commitment this year and can’t wait to pair our world-class beer with the most engaging art event in the world.”
Elements of the partnership include offering Founders beer at all official ArtPrize events, signage, promotion, merchandise, specialized glassware and other specialized items during the 19-day event. Additionally, the brewery will be recognized as a major sponsor at all ArtPrize events, and will be featured on the ArtPrize promotional poster.
“ArtPrize is always open to new, strategic ways to partner with leading and emerging national brands. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome them as the exclusive brewery of ArtPrize,” said Daryn Kuipers, interim executive director for ArtPrize. “Both Founders and ArtPrize are two organizations that are defining Grand Rapids’ reemergence. Both organizations have heritage, values and roots in this community and will make an excellent partnership.”
With its mix of public voting and juried awards, ArtPrize explores the tension between the professional and populist in an epic conversation. The fifth edition of the popular art competition will take place Sept. 18 – Oct. 6, 2013. Artist Registration for the 2013 event will open on Monday, April 22.
We’re officially announcing Founders Fest 2013, which will take place on the streets of downtown Grand Rapids once again, from 3-11pm on Saturday, June 22. This is our sixth annual outdoor festival celebrating two of the things we love most: beer and music. We’re expecting 6000 or more beer and music lovers to gather on Grandville Avenue between Cherry and Bartlett for the festivities.
“Founders Fest is our biggest party of the year,” said Mark Dorich, Festival Coordinator and Founders Director of Retail Operations. “It’s always a great time celebrating with our community, and we’re really excited about this year’s music lineup.”
A wide range of musical talent will be rocking out at this year’s Founders Fest, with national act G. LOVE & SPECIAL SAUCE coming in from Philadelphia, PA, with some hip hop/blues to headline. Other performers include IVAN NEVILLE’S DUMPSTAPHUNK with funk from New Orleans; MAN MAN, also of Philadelphia; electro rock from Founders taproom repeat performers ROSTER MCCABE of Minneapolis; horn-driven tour de force, Chicago’s LOWDOWN BRASS BAND; and bluegrass sweethearts LINDSAY LOU & THE FLATBELLYS of Ann Arbor. Hometown crowd favorites ALEXIS join local Latin rock crew CABILDO, and a super-group of Founders employees return as the FBC ALL-STARS to round out the entertainment line-up.
This year’s event will again feature local food vendors as well as a Local Artists Row, which showcases the various works of some of the area’s finest artists and designers. There will be other strolling and surprise entertainers sprinkled throughout the day. And, of course, there will be plenty of beer available, including our year-round offerings and quite a few taproom one-offs. The entire festival will be outdoors on the street; the indoor taproom space will be closed for the day.
Founders Fest is a celebratory “thank you” to Grand Rapids and West Michigan for getting us to where we are today. We’ve been a part of the Grand Rapids scene since 1997 and have grown our brewing tradition from modest beginnings to being one of the highest rated breweries in the world.
“We look forward to Founders Fest every year,” said Co-Founder & CEO Mike Stevens. “Beer and music bring people together, and we love being able to put on an event that does just that. It gives us the opportunity to get our family, friends and community together for a day so that we can toast to all of them.”
We’re also partnering with The High Five Program, a local community organization that assures the prevention of litter and significant reduction of waste streams at large-scale events, for the second year. With help from High Five, we managed to achieve over 90% waste diversion last year and hope to beat that rate this year.
Guarantee yourself entry to Founders Fest 2013 and save a little cash with advance pre-sale tickets:
Discounted advance ticket sales will again be available starting Friday, April 19, at the Founders taproom, as well as online, via http://foundersfest2013.eventbrite.com/. The event is limited to ages 21 and older.
If you’ve visited (or driven by) our taproom lately, you’ll notice that construction on the next stage of our expansion is currently underway. We’re excited to be able to share with you some renderings of what our new space will look like.
Please note that these are just renderings. Details, such as surfaces and furniture, may change. But this should give you a good sense of the space. Also, you can click on images to see them at a larger scale.
Here is roughly what our beer garden will look like when it opens this fall, from the ground level looking toward the south:
The same space, from a higher angle:
Lastly, the deck you see in the rendering above is connected to a space that will become our event rental and education center (more details to come):
Our taproom will remain open throughout our construction with plenty of world-class beers and delicious sandwiches for you to enjoy. We’re excited to share this space with Grand Rapids and with all of you this fall.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) announced their Brewers for Clean Water initiative today. We are actively in support of this program. Please see this official media release from the NRDC for more information:
Great Beer Needs Clean Water: NRDC Partners with Craft Brewers to Protect the Clean Water Act
CHICAGO (April 9, 2013) – It takes great water to make great beer, so the Natural Resources Defense Council is teaming up with nearly two dozen nationally-respected craft brewers to launch a campaign today advocating for strong clean water policies. The craft brewing industry—makers of beloved brews, small business entrepreneurs and water quality experts—has a lot to say about maintaining high standards under the federal Clean Water Act. The new “Brewers for Clean Water” campaign will help translate the amazing economic growth of the craft brewing sector into a powerful voice on behalf of clean water in the United States.
“Whether brewers are creating ales, pilsners, porters, wits, or stouts, one ingredient must go into every batch: clean water,” said NRDC Water Program Senior Policy Analyst Karen Hobbs. “Craft brewers need clean water to make great beer. This campaign is all about amplifying their voices in support of the most important protection for their most important ingredient, the Clean Water Act.”
Few industries depend on clean water as much as craft brewers. While hops and malt can be sourced elsewhere, breweries are reliant on their local water supplies. Whether drawn from lakes, rivers, groundwater or a local water system, breweries rely on the protections of the Clean Water Act to ensure the quality and availability of their main ingredient (beer is 90% water).
In recent years, attempts to roll back Clean Water Act protections have endangered not just the most important ingredient for craft beer, but also public health and resources for a wide range of industries. In joining the campaign, the brewers have taken NRDC’s “Clean Water Pledge,” acknowledging the importance of clean water and clean water safeguards. These issues are all the more important today, with the public awaiting improved Clean Water Act protections for American streams, wetlands and headwaters (which have a significant impact on larger water sources downstream). These reforms are due soon in Washington, DC.
The reach of the craft brewing industry has grown immensely in recent years. With more breweries than any other time in American history, the multi-billion dollar industry brings a compelling business voice to clean water issues. Seen as rock stars responsible for beloved brews in some circles and local employers in others, craft brewers are closely tied to their communities with a very real understanding of the impacts bad policy can have on regional water sources. While the participants in the growing “Brewers for Clean Water” campaign include brewing operations large and small, all have demonstrated a commitment to sustainability in their operations and beer development. Campaign members include:
- Allagash Brewing Company (Portland, ME)
- Arbor Brewing Company (Ann Arbor, MI)
- Arcadia Brewing Company (Battle Creek, MI)
- Brewery Vivant (Grand Rapids, MI)
- Central Waters Brewing Company (Amherst, WI)
- Cranker’s Brewery (Big Rapids, MI)
- DryHop Brewers (Chicago, IL)
- Finch’s Beer Company (Chicago, IL)
- Flossmoor Station Restaurant and Brewery (Flossmoor, IL)
- Founders Brewing Company (Grand Rapids, MI)
- Goose Island Beer Company (Chicago, IL)
- Half Acre Beer Company (Chicago, IL)
- Harmony Brewing Company (Grand Rapids, MI)
- Lakefront Brewery, Inc. (Milwaukee, WI)
- New Belgium Brewing Company (Fort Collins, CO)
- Revolution Brewing (Chicago, IL)
- Right Brain Brewery (Traverse City, MI)
- Short’s Brewing Company (Bellaire, MI)
- Sierra Nevada Brewing Company (Chico, CA)
- Temperance Beer Company (Evanston, IL)
- Wild Onion Brewing Company (Barrington, IL)
“The Brewers for Clean Water campaign is a beautiful thing because it allows something so simple as a glass of beer to be a speaking point for the importance of water,” said Ian Hughes, Environmental and Safety Coordinator for Goose Island Beer Company.
“Being surrounded by the Great Lakes here in Michigan, water is something that we’ve always cherished, and we never take it for granted,” said Dave Engbers, co-founder and vice president of brand and education for Founders Brewing Company. “Water is life—nothing exists without water.”
“As we continue to see the craft beer segment grow, we as brewers owe it to the communities we live, work and play in to be mindful of protecting our waterways as we strive for growth that is environmentally and socially responsible now and down the road,” said Mat Trogner, New Media Designer at Allagash Brewing Company.
- More about the NRDC’s “Brewers for Clean Water” campaign, including video interviews from participating breweries, can be found at www.nrdc.org/brewers
Also, please check out this video of Co-Founder Dave Engbers explaining why clean water is important to the Founders Family:
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.
“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.
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):
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.
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. **
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: