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detroit founders

Brewery Offers Improved Customer Experience and Unprecedented Community Commitment

 

DETROIT Founders Brewing Co. announced Tuesday that its Detroit taproom will reopen to the public on Thursday, February 6 at 11:00 am. Visitors to the brewery can expect a full taplist with multiple new beer choices, an amended menu and a variety of Mothership Series and “Brewed in Detroit” bottles available for purchase.

“After three months of progress behind-the-scenes, now is the best time to honor our commitments in Detroit and reopen the Detroit taproom,” said company Co-Founder and CEO Mike Stevens. “While our intentions were good when we first launched the taproom in 2017, we need to make more efforts to connect in meaningful ways with the City of Detroit. We’re going to do this right and we look forward to sharing the journey with our fans, community partners and business partners.”

Founders also announced an addition to the team: Emily Faulkner will step into the role of Detroit taproom General Manager. Emily has extensive experience in the Detroit hospitality industry; most recently she served as Operations Manager for TopGolf in Auburn Hills and the General Manager for TAP in the MGM Grand Detroit.

The owners of Founders Brewing Co. will be contributing the income from the Detroit taproom to local Detroit charities for the next three years.

In addition to expanding its charitable giving platform, the Big Pitcher, Founders has agreed to partner with the City of Detroit and its Detroit At Work platform to hire more qualified Detroit residents. The company and Detroit At Work are collaborating to implement hiring practice that will make jobs more accessible to returning citizens and individuals with criminal records.

Additionally, the company is working with Detroit at Work to set up a hospitality training program for Detroit residents so they can earn jobs in the hospitality industry and build successful careers. Those who complete the 2-3 week training program will be rotated into employment at the taproom. The goal is to make this program permanent and to implement it in other businesses around Detroit.

Founders is also deepening its relationship with the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan, establishing a health and wellness program for the community, aimed at preventing chronic illnesses, available at the Detroit taproom. This program will provide weekly programming including free health trainings/screenings and nutrition and fitness classes for local residents, as well as employee wellness programs for Founders’ staff, with the taproom serving as a hub of activity.

“Founders is exhibiting what being a good neighbor is all about,” said Interim DEI Director, Buzz Thomas, of Detroit-based Thomas Group Consulting. “Since Founders brought me on board last November, I’ve hit the ground running in helping them establish partnerships in Detroit. It’s clear that the employees’ hearts and minds are in the right place. I have no doubt in my mind that their efforts will make a significant impact in the City of Detroit and in the brewing industry by establishing a program that will serve as the model.”

With Thomas’ guidance, the brewery has also partnered with Grand Rapids-based Global Bridgebuilders. Their approach emphasizes process management, measurement and benchmarking, and continuous improvement, with a core focus on inclusion as a business discipline and Founders is well underway with the implementation of the program.

“We realize this goes beyond financial donations and we’re committed to becoming a more integral part of the Detroit community,” said Co-Founder and President, Dave Engbers. “We’re not viewing the Detroit taproom as a profit center but instead as a hub for community engagement with the residents of the city. ”

About Founders Brewing Co.

Established in 1997 by two craft beer enthusiasts—Dave Engbers and Mike Stevens—with day jobs and a dream, Founders Brewing Co. brews complex, in-your-face ales, with huge aromatics and tons of flavor. Founders ranks among the top 10 largest craft breweries in the U.S. and is one of the fastest growing. The brewery has received numerous awards from the World Beer Cup and the Great American Beer Festival and RateBeer and BeerAdvocate users often rate its beers among the best in the world. Located in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, Founders is a member of the Michigan Brewers Guild. For more information, visit foundersbrewing.com.

 

 

hawaii

Hawaiians can expect to see select Founders releases in cans and draft as soon as the end of July 2019

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., – Founders Brewing Co. has announced that they have partnered with Odom Hawaii – of the Odom Group and the GAB network of wholesalers – to bring their beer to the Aloha State. This marks the 50th state of distribution and successfully completes nationwide coverage for the 22-year-old brewery. Customers can expect to see select releases in draft and cans (as applicable) of All Day IPA, Solid Gold, Rubaeus and Breakfast Stout as early as the end of July.

“My partner Dave and I are very excited to announce that Founders will be heading to Hawaii!” said CEO and Co-Founder Mike Stevens. “It’s always a special time whenever we add a state of distribution and the fact that Hawaii is our 50th state makes it all the more worthy of celebration. It’s long been a dream of ours to see our beer across the US, and the fact that 22+ years later we’ve accomplished this is a testament to our Founders team and our amazing wholesaler partners. Tonight, we raise a glass to the Aloha state and thank everyone throughout America who’s helped us get to where we are today.”

“We’re thrilled to be a part of such a monumental milestone in the Founders Brewing Co. business,” said Vice President of Corporate Sales, Brandon Odom. “We value their partnership and are looking forward to the exciting times to come. Congratulations to Founders on the tremendous success of expanding their business across the entire United States. A truly well-deserved accomplishment!”

Launch events will be taking place as soon as the end of the month. To review information on the Founders lineup and release calendar, visit foundersbrewing.com

About Founders Brewing Co.
Established in 1997 by two craft beer enthusiasts—Dave Engbers and Mike Stevens—with day jobs and a dream, Founders Brewing Co. brews complex, in-your-face ales, with huge aromatics and tons of flavor. Founders ranks among the top 10 largest craft breweries in the U.S. and is one of the fastest growing. The brewery has received numerous awards from the World Beer Cup and the Great American Beer Festival and RateBeer and BeerAdvocate users often rate its beers among the best in the world. A proud sponsor of chasing the American dream, Founders launched the Chase Your What If campaign in January 2019 to inspire all beer fans to live life to its fullest. Located in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, Founders is a member of the Michigan Brewers Guild.

 

cellar

We’ll admit, on occasion, it’s really good to be us. Founders Brewing Co. did something they rarely do, and we had the honor to be a part of it. They broke character, and extended an exclusive invitation to a very short list of trusted writers and photographers in craft media across the U.S. to peek behind the curtain at what makes them and what they do so unique.

Unprecedented, they offered a private tour of the caves where all of their Barrel-aged Series and experimental one-offs hibernate until Jason Heystek, VP Lead Guitar, and Jeremy Kosmicki, Brewmaster, say, “They’re ready.”

cellar

Jason Heystek & Jeremy Kosmicki,

The caves—yes, literal caves—are naturally held between 40°-55° F, perfect for cellaring beer. Founders has access to a figurative gold mine, spiderwebbed throughout old gypsum mines approximately 85’ underground, somewhere beneath the streets of Grand Rapids. Well, we know where they’re located. With a little Googling, the savvy can find them, too. But. Unless you know a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy, you’re not getting in, or in the elevator.

We spent the day rubbing elbows with Founders’ founders, Mike Stevens and Dave Engbers, talking 20 years of history filled with hits and their fair share of misses, but zero regrets.

cellar

Mike Stevens & Dave Engbers

Heystek and Kosmicki were our personal tour guides. With screwdriver and rubber mallet in rubber-gloved hands, Heystek casually displayed why he’s the man. Repeatedly dipping a barrel thief (sanitized every time, we might add) into vintages of popular limited releases being secretly aged in brandy or scotch scotch barrels, experimental recipes with fruit and salt in gin barrels, or KBS (who cares what year?!), Heystek let us drink straight from the barrel beer that most people will never know existed. We were only able to drink after we picked our jaws up off the floor. We can say now that, at the time, we saw barrels of CBS, but weren’t able to talk about it. They even made us prick our finger and sign an NDA. Trust us, it took everything we had not to spill the beans.

After we reemerged, we also visited Founders’ new production facility, which defies comprehensible size. Let’s just say it’s big enough to house some of the estimated 15,000 barrels from the caves when they’re finally ready to see Founders’ Taproom, or hit distribution—if the rest of the world is as lucky as Grand Rapids.

We were gifted an experience you can’t put a price tag on. We’re talkin’ Golden Ticket access: level Charlie Bucket. Here’s proof.

 

Photography: Steph Harding

 

GRAND RAPIDS — A festival surrounding an in-progress 40-million-dollar expansion made this year’s Founders Fest challenging, but not disappointing. The six-story-high fermenters towering over the fest made this year’s feel a little more special — a “tiny” reminder to the all of the people in attendance that they help make Founders the 17th largest brewery in the nation and still growing.

“This festival started [about nine years ago] as an opportunity to hopefully raise money to pay our property taxes; it has turned into a festival for about 7,000 of our closest friends,” said Mike Stevens, Co-Founder and CEO of Founders Brewing Co.

The festival is not just a celebration of great beer — music is also an immense part of the culture at Founders. Not one but two stages set the tone with eight different live music acts creating a rhythmic ambiance. The festival doesn’t officially kick off until the The FBC All-Stars play, according to Stevens.  Playing cover songs familiar to the crowd, the band is composed of different Founders employees each year. The idea is to showcase the talents of some of the Founders family, from administration to production to the taproom.

There were over 10 Founders beers flowing from the taps, from easy drinkers like All Day IPA and Solid Gold, to sweeter brews like Rubaeus and Blushing Monk, to the special beer made just for the event, Founders Fest Wheat. Planning three months ahead for an event of this capacity, it was expected for the Founders Fest to go through 200-250 kegs of beer.

Food trucks filled a whole block with offerings like pulled pork from Slow’s BBQ, gyros from Pita House and a variety of sandwiches from What The Truck. They helped to fill everyone’s stomach, giving opportunity for more beer drinking.

A separate block showcased booths of local artists, another opportunity at the fest for people to give back to their local community. Carisa Gallegos of Lot Life praised her love of the festival and financial success at Founders Fest in the past. She said she looks forward to being a part of the fest every year with their motto, “finish strong baby!”  Other goods attendees could find include print works from Woosah, natural clothing from Conscious Clothing, wood goods made from Founders barrels by McVety Design, and handmade leather products from Hides + Stitches.

With something for everyone, Grace Wysocki described the festival best.

“Founders Fest is one thing that we never miss. We are never disappointed! Music, art and being able to hang out with our friends…there is nothing better!”

The man that knows Founders Fest the best had simple advice to offer for attending the festival.

“Have a good time! Drink beer!” Stevens said.