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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sweet Repute Is Our Winter 2013 Backstage Series Release

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

sweet-repute

Our brewing team painstakingly choreographed each layer of this beer’s characteristics, starting with a healthy wheat and roasted malt base and adding clean, fragrant hops. It’s one hundred percent barrel-aged in maple syrup bourbon barrels and bourbon barrels over the course of sixteen months, then blended using carefully calculated ratios for the ultimate final product. The resulting 12.6% ABV liquid pours a bright warm russet with a stubborn ivory head and an intoxicatingly sweet nutty aroma. We put Sweet Repute in a larger bottle with sharing in mind.

“We’re excited about this one,” said Co-Founder and Vice President of Brand & Education Dave Engbers. “Every sample we’ve pulled from the barrels down in the caves has been incredible.”

Sweet Repute will join the ranks of our world-class barrel-aged beers, such as Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS), Canadian Breakfast Stout (CBS), Backwoods Bastard, Curmudgeon’s Better Half and many, many more taproom-only ales.

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

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2013 European Beer Star Awards: Two Medals!

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New taproom bathrooms!

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

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

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

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

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

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Company Store Downtime

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

Founders Beer Garden Rendering Aerial View: Opens Fall 2013

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

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

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

Very old Oak tree

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

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All Day IPA Cans Coming in August

All Day IPA cans will start showing up on shelves next month! These new 12-packs will be available in all of our markets in August, with the exception of Texas and Florida, which are expected to get shipments of cans in September.

Founders All Day IPA can

Founders All Day IPA 12-pack in cooler

Our suggested retail price is $17.99 per 12-pack.

 

Here are some photos of the Founders Family from our test run:

Tom Harbaugh and Clarke Gilbert, two of our packaging team members, by the first pallet of All Day IPA cans:

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Co-founder Dave Engbers with one of the first cases:

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Cheers from our Director of Brewery Operations Alec Mull and our VP of Operations Brad Stevenson:

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We’re looking forward to sharing this new package with all of you!

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Florida: We’re Coming!

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This guy didn’t make it, but if you can hold on just a bit longer, we’ll be there for you, Floridians! (Thanks to Twitter follower @FLfreak for sending this cartoon our way, adapted from the original work by Funday Morning.) After multiple delays, due to the expansion of our production facility taking longer than we anticipated and continued growth in our existing markets, we are pleased to confirm that our beer will be available in Florida starting the week of August 19 through our partners Brown Distributing. We will be launching with all of our year-round and seasonal products, and we have a few special events planned next month.

Founders fans in Florida have been incredibly patient with us and understanding of our need to grow responsibly—for that we thank them!

And, for those of you keeping track, this is our updated distribution footprint, effective August 19:

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All Day IPA Moving to Year-Round Lineup

Due to high demand for the newest addition to our lineup, All Day IPA, we have decided to move it from our seasonal to our year-round lineup. We’ve updated our availability calendar for the remainder of 2013, for your convenience. Print it out, save it to your computer, use it as a desktop background, whatever you need to do:

2013 Availability Calendar Updated Fall

Also, Breakfast Stout will be available as early as mid-September, dependent on distributor shipments, with official availability across our footprint in October, and it will remain in a 4-pack. Stout Season will run through the end of 2013 (through December). 2014 seasonal releases will be announced later this year.

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Founders Fest 2013 Video Recap

A fun recap of Founders Fest 2013:

Thanks to Kevin Cole for producing this video and to Alexis for letting us use footage from and audio of their live performance of “Fantastic Magic”.

We hope to see all of you again next year!

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Mango Magnifico On-Site Release

Mango Magnifico - Dark

Tickets for the on-site, taproom release of Mango Magnifico con Calor will go on sale beginning Saturday, June 29, at 11am EST. We’ll be doing a ticketed, 4-day release, running Thursday, August 1 through Sunday, August 4, to precede the release to our distribution footprint on Monday, August 5.

Mango Magnifico con Calor [Magnificent Mango with Heat] is a never-before-released, high-gravity fruit beer brewed with mango and a touch of 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. A refreshing drink for the warm summer months.

Each ticket reserves the right to purchase two bottles of Mango Magnifico, at $13 each (tax and deposit are included), ONLY on the date specified on your ticket. All reserved bottles are to be picked up at the brewery in Grand Rapids, MI (exact location TBA) during pick-up hours (12pm-9pm).

IMPORTANT:  ALL TICKETS ARE BOTH NAME AND DATE SPECIFIC AND ARE NON-TRANSFERRABLE. NO EXCEPTIONS WHATSOEVER. DON’T ASK!

Get more information and purchase your tickets right here: http://foundersbrewingmango.eventbrite.com/.

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Untappd Founders Hop Head Badge

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.

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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
  • Doom

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?

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Inspired Artist Black IPA To Be Released in Honor of ArtPrize

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.

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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.

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Philly Beer Week 2013: Thank You!

A huge thank you to the people of Philly for showing Founders such a great time during Philly Beer Week 2013!

Brewmaster Jeremy Kosmicki, Co-Founder Dave Engbers, Brewer Laura House and Events Coordinator Christina with the Hammer of Glory (HOG) at the POPE
Brewmaster Jeremy Kosmicki, Co-Founder Dave Engbers, Brewer Laura Houser and Events Coordinator Christina McDonald with the Hammer of Glory (HOG) at the P.O.P.E.
Dave and Mike before the doors opened
Co-founders Dave Engbers and Mike Stevens before our World Cafe Live FBC All-Stars Road Show event

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.

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The taproom’s Rob Burt (drums) and Deli Manager Justin Golinski (vocals) rock the stage during the FBC All-Stars performance

 

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Production Expansion Update
The seamer on our new canning line
The seamer on our new canning line

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.

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Mango Magnifico Is Our Summer 2013 Backstage Series Release

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.

MangoMagnifico_Bottle_MockUp

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.

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Pure Michigan Beer Contest Winner

Pure Michigan Beer Contest Winner: Vanilla Stout

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.

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Urban Waters Federal Partnership Endorses Grand Rapids Whitewater

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 White Water logo

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.

Representatives at the Gerald R. Ford Museum for the Urban Waters announcement on 5.10.13

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:

Painted Rendering of Grand River with rapids restored

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