Founders Brewing Company expanding in GR

The Hynes Avenue site where Founders Brewing Company plans to add a second brewery.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD)– Founders Brewing Company announced Tuesday it is once again expanding.

The beer giant will be adding a new facility at 900 Hynes Avenue SW, just outside of downtown Grand Rapids in the Union Station building.

Founders current location at 235 Grandville Ave. SW has grown significantly over the years to now take up an entire city block.

The Grandville Avenue brewery for Founders Brewing Co. (File photo)
The Grandville Avenue brewery for Founders Brewing Co. (File photo)

According to a news release from Founders, the new facility is intended to fulfill their growing warehouse and distribution needs.

The company said the new location will also house its second brewery which will focus exclusively on the barrel-aged, experimental, high-gravity and specialty beers.

“We really cut our teeth as kind of a high-end specialty brewer and have been really well known for that on a national level. It’s really good to get back to our roots and really start to focus back in on those envelope pushing recipe shells we’re mostly known for,” said Mike Stevens Co-Founder and CEO of Founders Brewing Company.

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Once the expansion is complete, they will be able to produce an additional 250,000 barrels of beer a year, bringing Founders total production to 1.2 million barrels of beer a year.

“Volume of that size that definitely puts you in the top five largest breweries in the country,” Stevens said.

Founders beer moves down the production line. (Oct. 1, 2014)
Founders beer moves down the production line. (Oct. 1, 2014)

The goal wasn’t always to be that big. The first 12 years that Founders was open, the company struggled to make it financially. However that changed in 2008 — the first year they broke even.

“From that point on we’ve just been on this roller coaster. We look at our compounded annual growth rate over the past five years, it’s 52 percent when you look at the top 50 breweries in the country nobody that is growing any faster than Founders,” Stevens said.

Leading the charge, Founders All Day IPA which in 2015 was the number one selling craft can pack skew by volume. It was also the number four bestselling IPA craft beer in the country behind only Sam Adams, Lagunitas and Sierra Nevada.

“The foundation of who we are and what we do is never changed and that is we’re product driven, we focus on what we do day in and day out. We always say we come to work to see if we can make our beer better than it was the day before,” Stevens said.

The new location will not have a tap room and will be for beer production only.

Founders anticipates beginning operations at the new facility on Jan. 29, 2016 with production starting this summer.


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