Founders Brewing Company

Beer…By the Numbers

  • Visitors who toured Founders Brewing Company in 2013: 2,518.
  • Price of a Founders tour: $10 (includes a pint glass).
  • Barrels of craft beer sold in 2011: 11,467,337.
  • Barrels of craft beer sold in 2012: 13,235,917 (up 9 percent from 2011).
  • Cost of a bottle of domestic beer in Hanoi, Vietnam: U.S.$0.44.
  • Cost of a bottle of non-alcoholic domestic beer in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: U.S.$0.59.
  • Cost of a bottle of black-market domestic beer in Tripoli, Libya: U.S.$5.49.
  • Change in Dogfish Head Craft Brewery’s sales from 2011 to 2012: Up 13 percent.
  • 60 Minute IPA’s share of Dogfish Head’s production: 48 percent.
  • What Anheuser-Busch InBev paid to re-acquire Korea-based Oriental Brewery: $5.8 billion.
  • What A-B InBev sold Oriental Brewery for in 2009: $1.8 billion.
  • Sales of number-one selling beer Bud Light in 2013: $5.95 billion.
  • Average price of a case of Bud Light: $20.18.
  • Percent of Americans who call Budweiser their favorite beer: 51.
  • Percent who call Budweiser their least favorite beer: 46.

The Friday Mash (Chili and Frosty Edition)

No, “chili and frosty” isn’t today’s weather report. Those were once the signature items of Wendy’s restaurants, the first of which opened on this day in 1969. Founder Dave Thomas named after it after his daughter Melinda Lou Thomas, known to her family as Wendy.

And now….The Mash!

We begin in Germany, where an official of the national health system infuriated psychotherapists by suggesting that a bottle of beer might be more effective than a trip to the couch.

A store in Louisville sells hand-rolled cigars seasoned with Samuel Adams beer. They combine the beer’s sweetness and maple and vanilla flavors with a spicy flavor from the tobacco blend.

In many U.S. states, anti-drunk driving groups have put an end to drive-through beer stores, but they’re still common in Mexico. Some are operated by the Modelo brewery’s parent company.

Last week, the carrier U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford was launched. Founders Brewing Company, located in Ford’s hometown of Grand Rapids, released a special ale to celebrate.

Next February, the University of Kentucky will host a one-day seminar on the importance of beer writing to the craft beer industry. Garrett Oliver is the headline speaker.

Alan Newman, the founder of the Magic Hat Brewing Company, has gone back to basics. His Just Beer Project is a brewery that focuses on traditional beers. His first offering is a session-strength IPA.

Finally, some gift ideas for the beer lover who has everything. Paste Magazine’s ten best items made out of beer cans include a Christmas tree, a corset, and a World War I biplane.

Beer in the Mitten State

In 2005, Maryanne and Paul traveled throughout Michigan for their book, Michigan Breweries. At the time, there were 78 breweries in the state. The brewery count remained flat for several years, increased to the low 90s, in 2009-10, and then…

Scott Graham, the executive director of the Michigan Brewers Guild, had an unusual confession to make to Bridge magazine correspondent Rick Haglund: “I have no idea how many breweries are under construction. I used to know about everyone.” The Guild estimates that there are 140 craft breweries in Michigan, and a spokeswoman from the state’s Liquor Control Commission says that there 48 license applications are pending.

Bell’s Brewing, which opened for business years before Michigan issued microbrewer licenses, is seventh in production among U.S. craft breweries; and Founders Brewing Company, which had maxed out its capacity at 5,000 barrels at its original location in 2005, now ranks 30th.

Currently, Michigan ranks fifth in the nation in the number of breweries, and is the only state east of the Rockies in the top five.

What’s in a Name?

Amber Stout’s parents had no idea that craft beer would become popular when they named her in 1990. Amber, who worked in this hospitality industry in college, began getting comments about her name tag while serving drinks. She told an reporter, “I walked into Founders once and the guy checking IDs said ‘well, it looks like you’re in the right spot,’” she said. The staff must have liked her: she’s pictured holding a pint of Breakfast Stout in one hand, and a pint of Red’s Rye Ale in the other.

Beer…By the Numbers

  • Days until Founders Brewing Company releases Kentucky Breakfast Stout at its tap room: 28.
  • What Founders charges for a 12-pack of KBS: $62 (includes the $5 charge for a release ticket).
  • Highest reported bid on eBay for a release ticket: over $500.
  • Beer brands owned by AB InBev and SABMiller: 210.
  • Countries in which those brands are headquartered: 42.
  • Number of monks at St. Sixtus Abbey in Vleteren, Belgium: 21.
  • St. Sixtus’s annual production of Westvleteren 12: about 4,200 barrels.
  • Price of a six-pack of Westvleteren at the abbey: $27 U.S.
  • Percent of Myanmar’s males who call themselves “drinkers”: 50.
  • Percent who say they have five or more drinks daily: 25.
  • Germany’s beer consumption last year: 82.3 million barrels.
  • Percent of that beer that was served with cola and juice: 4.5.
  • Estimated cost of the Michigan Brewers Guild’s Winter Beer Festival: $175,000.
  • Cost of the beer itself: $90,000.
  • The Guild’s profit margin on the festival: 30 percent.
  • The Friday Mash (Hobbit Edition)

    Seventy-five years ago today, The Hobbit was published. Author J.R.R. Tolkien drew inspiration for his classic fantasy from the pints of ale he drank in the Rabbit Room at the Eagle and Child pub in Oxford, England.

    And now….The Mash!

    We begin in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Founders’ “Stout Season” is underway. The brewery has three million bottles of Breakfast Stout ready for distribution.

    Remember Asahi Super Dry beer? Hirotaro Higuchi, the brewery’s president who launched the beer in 1987, has passed away. Super Dry made Asahi Japan’s top-selling brewery.

    Chris Hansen, who wants to bring the NBA back to Seattle, bought beers for everybody at F.X. McRory’s to celebrate a favorable vote for a new arena in the Emerald City.

    People in Madison, Wisconsin, love their beer, but some residents are up in arms over beer ads on city buses.

    How do you celebrate becoming the first person to run the length of Australia’s 5,330-kilometer (3,312-mile) Bicentennial Trail? If you’re Richard Bowles, who accomplished that feat, you order a beer.

    Since 1885, steam-powered “Skunk” trains have chugged through California’s Mendocino County. Once a year, Lagunitas Brewery takes over the train for a friends-and-family outing through redwood country.

    Finally, Nicholas Kuznetz set out to answer a burning question: How cold does a can of Coors Light have to get before the mountains turn blue?

    Michigan: The Great Beer State

    For years, Michigan has suffered from a terrible economy, with high unemployment and a list of bankruptcies headed by General Motors. Despite all that, the craft brewing industry keeps growing. The Great Lake State now ranks fifth nationally in the number of breweries, with more than 80 in operation and several more about to open. Craft beer has found its way into bars and grocery stores, and distributors have become more willing to handle it.

    Many of the leading craft breweries have ambitious expansion plans. Perhaps the most impressive story of all is that of Grand Rapids’ Founders Brewing Company. When we visited the brewery in 2005 for our Michigan Breweries book, its production was in the range of 4,000 barrels a year. This year, Founders expects to produce more than times that amount; and is facility could someday be turning out 150,000 barrels a year–a few thousand shy of the Bell’s Brewery, which has ranked number one in production for many years.

    Craft beer accounts for 4 percent of the Michigan market, a considerably smaller market share than in California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, the only four states ahead of it in the number of breweries. Which means there’s plenty of room for more breweries and further expansion.

    Michigan Brewers Win Ten GABF Medals

    Congratulations to everyone who won medals at this year’s Great American Beer Festival. We’d like to tip our hats to the seven Michigan breweries that will bring home a total of ten medals from this year’s competition:

  • Bastone Brewery: gold for Nectar des Dieux (Belgian-Style Abbey Ale).
  • Bell’s Brewing Company: bronze for Expedition Stout, 1995 (Aged Beer).
  • Big Rock Chop House & Brewery: silver for Go Figure (American-Style India Black Ale) and bronze for American Brown Ale (American-Style Brown Ale).
  • Founders Brewing Company: silver for both Endurance IPA, Jr. (Session Beer) and Curmudgeon (Old Ale or Strong Ale).
  • Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales: gold for Belipago (Specialty Beer).
  • Kuhnhenn Brewing Company: gold for Fourth Dementia Olde Ale (Old Ale or Strong Ale) and silver for Simcoe Silly (American-Belgo-Style Ale).
  • Short’s Brewing Company: gold for Key Lime Pie (Experimental Beer).
  • Nice job, everyone!

    A (Beer) Run For the Border

    Maryanne and Paul live less than 30 miles from the Canadian border, and have crossed it numerous times to enjoy theater (Stratford); city life (Toronto); and, of course, craft beer (just about anywhere).

    Turns out that cross-border goes both ways: there are Canadians who cross the border to drink Michigan beer. One of them is Sandra MacGregor, a food and travel writer for the Ottawa Citizen.

    Her mission: to find Canadian Breakfast Stout, which got its name because it’s aged in barrels formerly used for maple syrup. It was waiting for her at Founders Brewing Company, where a marketing person told her, “we don’t necessarily encourage you to drink it for breakfast.”

    MacGregor’s travels in the Great Lakes State also took her to Bell’s Eccentric Cafe in Kalamazoo and the Jolly Pumpkin Cafe and Brewery in Ann Arbor. She didn’t reveal how much Michigan beer she brought back with her. Though she did point out that it can’t be found at liquor stores in Ontario.

    World Beer Cup Winners List

    Here they are: the winners of the 2010 World Beer Cup

    Our home state of Michigan gave a good account of itself at the competition, with 11 medals, two of them gold.

    Michigan beers and breweries that made the winners’ circle were Bastone Brewery (Saison du Bastone); Big Rock Chop House & Brewery (Norm’s Raggedy-Ass IPA and Bonnie’s Raggedy-Ass Imperial IPA); The Detroit Beer Company (The Detroit Dwarf); Founders Brewing Company (Centennial IPA, Dirty Bastard, Founders Porter, and Imperial Stout); Kuhnhenn Brewing Company (Fourth Dementia Olde Ale); Redwood Brewing Company (Cream Stout); and Short’s Brewing Company (Black Licorice Lager).

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