GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Founders Brewing Co. has announced the second installment in their Crafted in Michigan Collaboration Series with partnerships with artists Esan Sommersell and Arsenal Handicraft. The brews will be available for a limited release in both taprooms in June, while supplies last. The Crafted in Michigan Collaboration Series is a new, quarterly release of taproom exclusive beer that aims to bring awareness to local Michigan crafters through partnerships and collaboration.
In Grand Rapids, the Founders team has partnered with local artist Esan Sommersell to create Ginger Smiles. To pay tribute to the Guyanese flavors and traditions Sommersell grew up admiring, Founders created a rum barrel-aged strong golden ale. Brewed with ginger and guava to celebrate the bold women and rich flavors of his youth. Founders will host a release event on June 25 at 11 a.m. with an outdoor artist market featuring Esan Sommersell and other artists, specialty food offerings and Ginger Smiles will be available for limited purchase.
“When we first met with Esan, he had three inspirations in mind for us to consider,” said Founders Brewmaster, Jeremy Kosmicki. “His family often brewed their own ginger beer – so something with a ginger bite was one idea. The second inspiration was guava – a sweet, tropical fruit used in many Caribbean dishes. And the third concept was something to pay tribute to a favorite drink of the West Indies – rum. We decided we’d try to incorporate all three ideas into one amazingly unique and tasty concoction.”
“Working with Founders has been a great experience and has allowed me to gain knowledge on the process of creating a new and unique flavor of beer,” said artist Esan Sommersell. “Collaborating with them has encouraged me to do much more with my art and I’m excited to continue to build my relationship with Founders and work with a variety of companies to bring my art to the world.”
In Detroit, the Founders team has partnered with husband and wife artist duo, Arsenal Handicraft to create Skyshift. An ode to the sky at twilight, Skyshift looks like that time when the sun dips below the horizon and casts an otherworldly purple shroud across the sky. Butterfly Pea Flowers give an ethereal appearance as the stars collide in the tart and juicy blueberry chamomile gose-style ale. Founders will host a release event on June 11 at 4 p.m. with an area where guests can enjoy specialty food offerings and purchase pieces from Arsenal Handicraft. Skyshift will be available for limited purchase.
“When Arsenal Handicraft was selected out of the pool of local artists to partner with for our next Crafted in Michigan collab, I was very excited! Their work particularly stood out to me as I connected with their color schemes and themes of natural wonder and the cosmos,” said Founders Detroit Head Brewer, Natalie Iseli-Smith. “When we met to discuss what sort of ingredients or flavor styles they were interested in, and they suggested using butterfly pea flowers to create these deep and fantastic shades of blue and violet. The result will be a refreshing, light-bodied, salty, sweet and sour gose-style wheat ale with a lot of herbal character from chamomile flowers, juicy sweetness from MI blueberries, and of course a unique shifting violet hue.”
“We’ve been fans of Founders since we attended our first Winter Beer Fest over a decade ago so we were super excited when they reached out to us about collaborating,” said artists Dennis and Christina Jacobs of Arsenal Handicraft. “They’ve given us so much creative freedom over the label artwork and the beer style, and the whole project has been really fun to work on during such a tough time for artists. They encouraged us to draw on our love for nature, which is the inspiration for most of our work. The thought behind Skyshift was to capture one of those fleeting, beautiful moments we all experience outdoors, which are especially appreciated as we’ve spent more time outside over the past year and a half.”
Esan Sommersell and Arsenal Handicraft are the second official Crafted in Michigan Collaboration Series partners. Founders has previously collaborated with City Built Brewing Company and Bees in the D and will continue to partner with local businesses each quarter to bring awareness to other Michigan crafters.
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.
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