founders detroit

Founders Brewing Co. announced today that, for the first time in their 20-year history, they will open a second taproom. The new facility will feature a fully-operational brewery and retail taproom located in the lower Cass Corridor neighborhood in Midtown Detroit, Michigan, a burgeoning cultural hub adjacent to sports arenas, music venues and more.

founders detroit“Having been born and raised in the metro area, Detroit has long held a special place in my heart,” said Mark Dorich, Founders’ Vice President of Retail Operations. “It’s a hard working, no-nonsense, culturally diverse and musically-inspired town, which happens to have the best sports teams in the country. Some of our strongest support has come from the east side of Michigan, and we could not think of a better place to expand our taproom experience. We anticipate creating a taproom that is inspired by what we do in Grand Rapids, but unique in its own Motown way. We’re excited to be a larger part of ‘the D’!”

Based in Grand Rapids since 1997, Founders’ decision to open a second taproom in Detroit reaffirms their longstanding commitment and pride in their home state of Michigan. The new location will include a full-service taproom serving unique menu items and locally-made Founders beers from the on-site brewery, in addition to the classic Founders lineup. Founders plans to staff the facility primarily with Detroit-area employees in an effort to contribute to local job growth and economic revitalization. Hiring will begin in summer 2017.

The 14,000 square foot building is located at 456 Charlotte St. and will undergo construction beginning in summer 2017. The grand opening is targeted for winter of 2017. Founders has partnered with Midtown Detroit Inc. and Invest Detroit on the development of the property.

“The introduction of a brand like Founders Brewing Co. to the South Cass neighborhood will have a catalytic impact and attract others to invest,” said Sue Mosey, executive director, Midtown Detroit, Inc.

Midtown Detroit Inc. has partnered with Invest Detroit to bring the development to life.  

“We are again pleased to partner and co-invest with Midtown Detroit, Inc. to facilitate the redevelopment of a building in this emerging district,” said Dave Blaszkiewicz, President and Chief Executive Officer of Invest Detroit. “Sue Mosey and her team have done an amazing job of attracting new businesses to the community. This location for the highly recognized Founders Brewing Co. will be a critical asset to encourage additional investment to revitalize the surrounding area.”


founders detroit


Founders explains further, and answers a few more questions before they’re asked:

Why are we opening a taproom in Detroit?

Our commitment to our home state of Michigan was established long ago and we intend to continue fulfilling it, even as our reach elsewhere increases. We have toyed with the idea of opening another taproom for years now and, when finally moving forward, it was a no-brainer choosing Detroit as the city to host it.  Not only do we have tons of fans on the east side of the state, we also have a personal history and love for Detroit. Both our Culinary Director and Vice President of Retail Operations hail from metro Detroit and have long been petitioning that we deepen our roots there.

While our Grand Rapids taproom is and always will be home to us, we feel it is important to spread the Founders love and allow even more of our fans the opportunity to experience drinking from the source themselves.

What will the taproom experience be like?
We are in the initial planning stages so there is not much information to share at this point, but we will keep you all updated as the project progresses.

Will the taproom be modeled after the Grand Rapids taproom?
The Detroit taproom will certainly take inspiration from the Grand Rapids location, but it isn’t intended to feel like a duplicate of it. We recognize and appreciate that Detroit and Grand Rapids, despite being in the same state, have a number of distinctions and our intention is to celebrate and embrace those. Every effort will be taken to ensure that the Founders culture represented in the Grand Rapids taproom comes through just as passionately in our Detroit location.

Will we brew at this location?
Yes, we plan on brewing at this location and will create beers unique only to it. In addition to those, we will also offer our year-round, seasonal and specialty beers on tap as well. Our Barrel-Aged Series beers will be on tap depending on availability.

How are we staffing this location?
We will open up a select number of positions internally to our current staff however the vast majority of jobs will be new hires and filled locally – we anticipate over 100 new jobs total. This process will extend from summer 2017 through winter 2017.

How will this impact the local economy?
Not only will the presence of this taproom create jobs in Detroit, we anticipate it will drive in more traffic to the lower Cass Corridor neighborhood. Located adjacent to arenas and music venues, the location is already seeing the beginnings of revitalization and we strive to be at the forefront of it. Our Grand Rapids location helped to spur the revitalization of the downtown neighborhood it is located in and we anticipate the same will happen in the lower Cass Corridor.


There’s this phenomenon occurring right now on Canfield in Detroit. On one corner representing an older, distinguished Detroit, there’s Traffic Jam and Snug, the first brew-pub in Michigan. On the other corner, there’s the new HopCat Detroit, bringing over one hundred taps from around the world. And now sandwiched in the middle is Jolly Pumpkin Pizzeria and Brewery.

It’s the perfect evening for an opening — it’s the end of a long work week, and the spring sun is actually shining, making the Michigan weather seem much warmer than it is for a moment. One can envision the casual, outdoor seating buzzing during the upcoming summer season. Inside it’s cozy and welcoming — I’ve barely said hello when multiple servers hand me food and drink to sample.

“Shaved Brussel sprout salad?” Yes please.

“Margherita pizza?” Yes please!

“May I bring you another beer? Yes. Always. Please!

It’s classic hospitality at its best, fusing together excellent service with the artisan concept that has always defined Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales. Everyone is smiling and having a great time — and brewmaster Ron Jeffries, the Captain Ron, just keeps saying “super excited.”

“Super excited” seems to define the evening. Tonight the conversation is all about the celebration of present successes and future possibilities, for both the region and the brewing company. Michigan has always been enthusiastic about expanding the craft industry, and the Jolly Pumpkin Detroit opening definitely signifies the local support and teamwork that goes into the continued development.

This venture combined the determined powers of Northern United Brewing Company, Midtown Detroit Incorporated as well as numerous other Detroit institutions.

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales has always been a proud Michigan brand, with locations in Dexter, Ann Arbor and Traverse City. Adding Midtown Detroit to this list was ideal.

“We’re always looking for new places, and we’ve been looking at Detroit for awhile,” says Jeffries. “We thought this would be a great addition to the neighborhood.”

I have to admit as a huge craft fan that this stretch of city-block gets me “super excited.” Within walking distance there are so many Michigan craft possibilities offering a slew of varying atmospheres and experiences.

One attendee commented, “Can you imagine being a Wayne State student right now? With all of this around? There would be no studying!”

Indeed, with 32 taps and a mouth-watering menu, there’s plenty of delicious distractions. And locals will be happy to recognize familiar products from Avalon International Breads, McClure’s pickles, The Brinery, Guernsey Dairy and plenty of others.

“It’s about being Michigan-based. Our chefs, our owners, everyone recognizes how important it is to use local product to fit the region,” says Jeffries.

“We’re just super excited,” he continues. “It’s a great spot. Our staff is excited. And so far a lot of people have come in and enjoyed our food and our beer.”