GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Founders Brewing Co. announced today that it will release PC Pils, an American-hopped Pilsner, as part of their 2016 seasonal lineup. PC Pils will also be the first beer released in 15-pack cans since All Day IPA.

Pleasantly crisp, perfectly clean and profoundly crushable, PC Pils is Founders’ take on the classic Pilsner style. While Noble hops have been the preferred choice of Pilsner brewers around the world, Founders elected to brew PC Pils with their favorite flavor-packed American varieties. Piney Chinook, pleasantly citrus Cascade and punchy Centennial make this an easy-drinker with floral hop characteristics.

“PC Pils will be a great seasonal offering to support our six year-round packaged products. We are really excited to offer PC in the 15-pack can package and we hope to see the beer enthusiasts rejoice at the news. We definitely did,” says Founders Co-Founder and President Dave Engbers.

PC Pils joins two other favorites as part of Founders’ seasonal lineup, the tropical hop delight Azacca IPA and single-hop darling Mosaic Promise.

PC Pils will be available across Founders’ distribution network in 6-pack bottles and 15-pack cans beginning October 1st, with some markets seeing it as early as September. It will have a suggested retail price of $9.99 for 6-pack bottles and $17.99 for 15-pack cans.


Founders Brewing Co. announced today that Pale Joe, a pale ale brewed with coffee, will be released on draft and in 6-pack bottles this September. Proceeds from the sale of Pale Joe will go to benefit ArtPrize 2016, the world’s largest art competition held annually in Grand Rapids, MI.

Most coffee beers begin with a dark, stout or brown ale base. Not this one. Your eyes will tell you one thing, but your palate will tell you another. Light in color but full in flavor, this golden ale features notes of gently roasted, fruit-forward coffee. Pale Joe features a special blend of high-end Ethiopian coffee expertly roasted by our hometown neighbors at Ferris Coffee and Nut. It’s the lovechild of your favorite iced coffee and, well, beer. Pale Joe comes in at 5.4% ABV.

Founders Brewing“Pale Joe came out of my current infatuation with pale, sessionable beers,” says Brewmaster Jeremy Kosmicki, “Being the ArtPrize beer, I wanted to play with expectations so I experimented with adding coffee to a lighter, pale ale. Turns out, using gently-roasted, fruit-forward coffee adds a nice roasty flavor that does not complete with the malts in the beer.”

This is the fourth beer brewed to benefit ArtPrize. Previous releases include Inspired Artist Black IPAMosaic Promise and Spectra Trifecta.

Founders Family members were given the opportunity to submit their portfolios to find an artistic match for the Pale Joe label, without knowing anything about the beer. Lead Cellar Operator and Kendall College of Art & Design graduate, Aaron Rossell, was chosen for his striking character illustrations and unexpected use of color. Aaron developed the character of Pale Joe, a leathery, dirty-overalled man as a symbol of  blue-collar, hardworking, coffee-sipping Midwestern farmers with the hope that he can help bridge the gap between artists and common-folk.

ArtPrize, an international art competition, promotes 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.

“We’ve always been thrilled with our strong relationship with Founders, the official brewery of ArtPrize and one of the best craft brewers in the United States,” noted Christian Gaines, ArtPrize Executive Director. “Our partnership, now in its fourth year, is built upon a mutual passion for our community, and a shared commitment to challenging the familiar — exemplified in Founders’ latest special release for ArtPrize Eight, Pale Joe.”

This year marks the eighth edition of ArtPrize, which will take place September 21–Oct. 9, 2016. The Founders taproom will be a venue for the eighth year running.

Pale Joe will hit shelves beginning September 13 in Michigan, Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, New Jersey, New York City and Boston, MA with limited availability on draft across our remaining distribution network.

Grand Rapids, MI  — Jason Ley, craft beer enthusiast and modest underdog from Grand Rapids, MI, has been quietly brewing an idea for a TV show for almost the last two years. Now, it’s ready to crack open.

modern ahabs

The show, titled Modern Ahabs, explores the hunt for the world’s most elusive craft beer. With this generation’s boom in brewing, craft beer has become more than a casual pastime hobby. Like rookie cards in mint condition or vintage toys still in their original packaging, craft beer is a worldwide phenomenon — a drinkable collector’s item. Modern Ahabs dives into the unique fanaticism that steers the pursuit for these highly sought-after, coveted trophies — known to enthusiasts as “whales.”

The pilot episode features Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) by Founders Brewing Company, of Grand Rapids, MI.

Ley, who created the show, wrote and produced the episode. He enlisted the help of director, Ben Wilke and his video production company, Deep End Films, to film and edit Modern Ahabs. Modern Ahabs is a non-staged, reality-style episodic series.

Filming took place in Grand Rapids, MI in March 2016 during KBS’s city-wide release festivities, KBS Week. Locations featured in the pilot episode include HopCat, Derby Station, The Winchester, The Meanwhile, and Founders Brewing Co.

Ley will host the premiere of the pilot episode of Modern Ahabs on Thursday, July 21, 2016. It will take place at Wealthy Theatre, 1130 Wealthy St SE, Grand Rapids, MI. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. This free event is open to the public. KBS will be available on draft. *Membership to Wealthy Theatre is not required to purchase KBS for this special, general admission event.

Ley’s ultimate goal for Modern Ahabs is to partner with a major TV, cable or streaming network — to develop a series of multi-episode seasons, with each episode featuring a different national or international craft beer whale.

founders fest

Thousands spent last Saturday ringing in what’s sure to be a very hot summer at Founders Fest 2016. This year’s celebration of beer and music featured eight musical acts, food and goods from local vendors, and carnival-esque sideshows by Super Happy Funtime Entertainment.


In the stifling heat, imbibers promised to hydrate with a water for every beer and enjoyed rare favorites like CBS and Lizard of Koz as well as staples like Red’s Rye, All Day IPA, and Rubeaus. People refreshed themselves at water refill stations, which featured misters spraying cool water.

The block party went well into the night, ending at 11 p.m. Attendees ate, drank, danced, and sweltered. It’s likely that many spent Sunday nursing a sunburn and a hangover.


Photography: Steven Michael Holmes

Grand Rapids–Founders Brewing Co. announced the ninth annual Founders Fest, an outdoor celebration of live music and beer, Saturday, June 18 from 3-11pm. An anticipated 6000+ attendees will make the sojourn to this year’s event, held on Grandville Avenue between Cherry and Bartlett, the streets surrounding the brewery

“We’re very much looking forward to hosting Founders Fest again this June,” said Vice-President of Retail Operations, Mark Dorich. “The festival is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to Grand Rapids and West Michigan for contributing to the success of the brewery. This year is a little extra special, musically-speaking, as every band in this year’s line-up has performed in our taproom at some point in the past.”

founders brewing

The festival features two headlining national acts: The Motet, preeminent improvisational jazz and funk outfit from Denver, Colorado and Lee Fields & The Expressions, one of the innovators of soul and R&B hailing from Brooklyn, NY. Other performers include July Talk, an indie blues group from Toronto, Ontario; The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, American Roots virtuosos from Indiana; The Main Squeeze, funk, soul and indie rock from Los Angeles; Dos Santos Anti-Beat Orquesta, Latin dance from Chicago; The Go Rounds, country-tinged psychedelic indie rock from Kalamazoo. The FBC All-Stars, a classic rock super-group comprised of all Founders employees, will also be part of the lineup.

The list of beers that will be available at the event include year-round favorites as well as a number of taproom-exclusives, which are rarely bottled and distributed.  Local food vendors will again be serving up food at the event. “Artist’s Row,” a space for local designers and artists to sell their wares, will again be a feature of the festival.

Roving and auxiliary entertainment, including stilt-walkers and aerial dancers, will again be provided by Super Happy Funtime Entertainment.

Founders is once again 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. In the past three years, the partnership between the High Five Program and Founders Fest saw an incredible over 90% waste diversion and they hope to improve upon that this year.

Ticket sales began Friday April 22, 2016 via and at the Founders Company Store.

founders brewing

Discounted General Admission early bird ticket sales will be available beginning Friday, April 22 at 12pm to Saturday, April 30 with a price of $25 each. Discounted General Admission advance tickets will be available from Sunday, May 1 to Friday, June 17 with a price of $30 each. General Admission day of show tickets will be sold at the gate (as capacity allows) with a price of $35 each. Founders Mug Club members can purchase discounted advance tickets from Friday, April 22 to Friday, June 17 for a price of $20 each with a day of show price tag of $25 each as capacity allows.

The event is limited to ages 21 and older.

kbs weekFounders Brewing Co. is happy to announce the third annual KBS Week, in honor of the release of Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) this year. The beer will be available starting March 14 in Michigan and April 1 across the remainder of the brewery’s distribution footprint, but visitors and residents of Grand Rapids will be able to enjoy it March 7- March 12.

KBS is an imperial stout brewed with massive amounts of coffee and chocolate and then aged in oak bourbon barrels for a year in the caves beneath Grand Rapids. It is consistently ranked as one of the highest rated beers in the world, according to ratebeer.

KBS Week began in response to the overwhelming notoriety KBS has developed over the years and a desire to share that with the West Michigan beer-loving community on a broader scale. This year will mark the 3rd annual KBS Week and fifteen Founders-supporting 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 7 and 11. KBS Week will culminate with the Founders taproom release party, where KBS will be poured all day on Saturday, March 12.

“Mike and I look forward to this week every year,” said co-Founder and President Dave Engbers, “It is fantastic working with our wholesalers and retail partners to create a community-centric week centered around the release of KBS. We are so grateful to our West Michigan community for the support throughout the years and it makes sharing KBS with all of them that much more special.”

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.

KBS will be available throughout Michigan on Monday, March 14 and throughout the rest of the Founders’ distribution footprint on April 1.


For full KBS Week details, head to

founders education program

“At first we thought, what more can we learn about Founders?”

That’s what Eva and Bob Trudell asked themselves before attending a “Palate Exploration Series” event at Founders Brewery in Grand Rapids. The two Founder’s aficionados were given tickets as a Christmas gift from their children and weren’t sure what to expect. The event was part of the Founders Education Program and was a collaborative, cross-promotional night between Founders and Robinette’s, an apple orchard just north of Grand Rapids. After a few hours of donuts, drinking and discussion, the curious Bob and Eva were sold. “It was right up our alley,” they said, “We’d recommend it a billion percent.”

founders education program

The Founders Education Program is more than just learning how to pair beer with local food. It’s a comprehensive outreach effort to teach everyone; customers and employees, novices and experts, everything there is to know about craft beer. It’s what Founders has created to spread the gospel of beer.

The Education Program has an extensive syllabus and most of the offerings are open to the public. Tours are conducted on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. The weekend tours are combined with tastings as well. Founders also offers two classes designed to enhance your brew knowledge. “Beer 101” is a crash course in craft beer. It covers beer history, ingredients, brewing processes, beer styles and tastings, and the evolution of Founders. The “Sensory Evaluation” class is a chance to take a deep dive into how to properly taste and evaluate a beer. Both classes take place quarterly and are open to the public.

Also open to the public are two different types of special events. The Palate Exploration Series featuring Robinette’s was one of those events. Founders teams up with a local food merchant and gives beer fans a chance to see how beer pairs with a wide variety of food. The other special event is the Founders Beer Dinner. This is a six-course food and beer pairing with food prepared by Founders’ own culinary team.

The events are hosted by the Founders Curriculum Coordinator, Mike Willcox Steil. Mike loves showcasing Founders beer, but what he really enjoys is the experience he can create for his customers. “When you set something up like this (the Robinette’s pairing) all the sudden you have 15 to 20 people who never met each other and within fifteen minutes they’re all talking like friends.”

founders education program“That friendly feeling was what got me working in this industry to begin with,” Mike elaborated.

The friendly and outgoing vibe he speaks of is intertwined deep into the fabric of Founders and it’s a huge reason for the existence of the Education Program. They truly believe in the “good news” of beer and they’re anxious to share it with anyone who comes through the door. Mike explains, “If I was working at the bar and someone told me they only liked Budweiser, to me, that’s an opportunity. Let’s change this guy’s mind. And if we can’t change his mind, let’s get him something so that he still has a good time tonight.”

Eva and Bob Trudell mentioned that the same outgoing and educational attitude is what endeared them to Founders from the beginning. “I feel like we originally learned about beer from Founders,” said Eva. “All the servers we’ve ever had at Founders, that’s how they’ve been. They want to educate us about the beer we’re drinking. It’s not just about giving you a beer.”

It’s no coincidence they had that experience with their servers. The final part of the Founders Education Program is all internal. It includes staff education and beer orientation for everyone in the company. Every month, Founders offers to pay for a 3-session training program that allows staff to obtain their Cicerone Beer Certification. It’s a program that certifies and educates beer professionals in order to elevate the beer experience for consumers. Currently, Mike says the entire staff is at least a level 1 Cicerone.

The other internal education component is the beer orientation program. This program is required for all new employees, despite Founders growing size. “No matter what, everyone comes for orientation,” said Mike. “That includes new heads of marketing, guys starting in the deli, or someone new on the packaging line.” That company-wide inclusion is a philosophy that goes back to the early days of Founders. “The Founders family mentality that brought this brewery to where it is, we try to keep as much as that as possible.”

The welcoming attitude that Founders attempts to show towards both employees and customers alike also extends to everyone else in the craft brew industry, including other brewers. The tours that are part of the Education Program are popular among brewers large and small from all across the state. Mike says that in the world of craft beer, they aren’t viewed as competitors, but instead as friends and collaborators. “I’ve always felt like nobody’s better than I am, and I am better than nobody else. That attitude is very much a part of this place. It’s the ‘rising tide lifts all ships’ kind of thing. We wouldn’t be around if other people weren’t trying other craft beers.”

The Founders Education Program is an effort by a growing company to share their passion with as many people as possible. For them, it’s all about the beer, and they’re doing what they can to spread the gospel.

If you’re interested in tours, special events, classes or any other part of the Education Program, get more information from the Founders website.


Photography: Jason Batts & Steph Harding

Grand Rapids, MI- Founders Brewing announced today that it will be expanding production to an additional facility in their hometown of Grand Rapids, MI.

This expansion is primarily intended to fulfill the growing warehousing and distribution needs of the brewery. The facility will include a brewhouse focused on creating specialty and experimental beers, and broadening their barrel aging program.

“As we continue to grow, so too does the demand for space,” says co-founder and CEO, Mike Stevens. “We are excited to finally give our warehouse crew a new home, one that will be an efficient space to work in.”

The 190,000 square foot space at 900 Hynes St. SW, is located only a mile away from the Founders Grandville Ave. location. Founders will begin operation in the new space on January 29, 2016.

Along with providing additional warehouse space and a specialty-beer-focused brewhouse, this new facility will also result in the creation of new, full-time job opportunities in Grand Rapids.  

For more information, visit

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