Just a little more than two years after moving into its new brewing facility on Grandville Avenue in downtown Grand Rapids, Founders Brewing Company is reporting significant, on-going growth.
Prior to the move in 2007, Founders employed 19 people in its 8000-square-foot facility, with a production capacity of 5000 barrels. The move to the current 27,000-square-foot facility meant an increase to more than 70 employees and five times the production to 30,000 barrels. In fact, barrel production for 2009 was up 72% and President Mike Stevens couldn’t be happier.
“We’re seeing significant growth in our existing markets up 63%, which is a good sign of brand strength. With the addition of a couple new markets, we are now distributing Founders brands in 15 states,” Stevens says. “In addition, local support and growth, have been a strong contributor to our successes as well, without it Founders would not be the brewery it is today.”
Distributors for Founders are also pleased with the growth of the brand, especially those in Michigan.
“Founders is Michigan’s hottest growth brewery two years running…with un-precedent percentage growth not seen in my tenure here at Rave,” says Rick Lack, Vice President of Rave & Associates in Ann Arbor – which is reporting a 92% increase in brand sales for 2009. “Creative beer styles, capacity upgrades and package improvements … plus great brewers and awesome people will get you this type of growth. Founders is on fire!”
Founders Brewing Company has been a part of the Grand Rapids scene since 1997 and Kent Beverage has been there every step of the way.
“Our success with the Founders brand has a lot to do with their ability to provide a consistent quality beer that meets the needs of the diverse palate of the craft beer consumer,” says Shannon Gary, Craft Brand Manager at Kent Beverage in Grand Rapids, who reports a 42% increase in brand sales for 2009. “Founders consistently offers great beer at a great value for the craft enthusiast”
While 2009 was a banner year, Stevens expects 2010 to exceed those numbers. The recent addition of five 200-barrel tanks means Founders is now pushing a production level of nearly about 30,000 barrels which translates to $10 million in revenue (up from $1.8 million at the close of 2007).
“We are proud of how we’ve grown over the past 13 years to become not just a local name but a serious contender on the regional and national craft brewing scene,” says Stevens. “Our crew is making some of the best beer in America and that is reflective in the continued growth we’re seeing in the local, state and regional marketplace.”
Currently Founders ranks as the #4 highest rated microbrewery in the world according to industry polls found on Ratebeer.com