Founders to Open $4 Million Detroit Brewery and Taproom

Founders Brewing Co. today announced plans to open a small brewery and taproom in midtown Detroit before the end of the year.

The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based craft brewery said it would redevelop a 14,000 sq. ft. building in the Cass Corridor neighborhood where the Little Caesars Arena — the future home of the NBA’s Pistons and NHL’s Red Wings — is slated to open in September.

The entire project, including the real estate itself, will cost an estimated $4 million, co-founder and CEO Mike Stevens told Brewbound.

“The city of Detroit and Founders have a lot in common – we hit rock bottom and we bounced right back,” Stevens wrote in a blog post on the company’s website. “It took years of hard work, tenacity and a regret nothing attitude, but we did it and we see those struggles reflected in the struggles and ultimate triumph of Detroit.

Construction is slated to begin in the summer with a winter opening. Once complete, the new outpost will feature a full-service taproom serving specialty Founders beer brewed on-site, as well as the company’s core offerings and food.

The company plans to transfer and reinstall an existing 3-barrel brewhouse from its Grand Rapids brewery, which is currently being used for research and development. Additional equipment purchases have not been finalized, Stevens told Brewbound.

Hiring is scheduled to begin in the summer with the company looking to employ primarily Detroit residents, it said.

Founders is partnering with Midtown Detroit Inc., a nonprofit economic development group, and Invest Detroit, a community development financial institution, on the project.

“We are again pleased to partner and co-invest with Midtown Detroit, Inc. to facilitate the redevelopment of a building in this emerging district,” Dave Blaszkiewicz, president and CEO of Invest Detroit, said in a press release. “This location for the highly recognized Founders Brewing Co. will be a critical asset to encourage additional investment to revitalize the surrounding area.”

The foray into Detroit marks Founders’ first taproom expansion outside of Grand Rapids.

“We’re not looking to build a carbon copy of our home-base taproom here in Grand Rapids,” Stevens wrote on the company’s blog of the Detroit taproom. “There are few other cities who know who they are as much as Detroit does and we want that confidence and attitude to inform the feel of our Detroit taproom. While we’re still in the process of developing menus, building design, layout and logistics, we expect there to be some parallels, but without the cookie-cutter franchise feel.”

Over the last three years, Founders has undergone an aggressive expansion strategy that now includes distribution to 46 states and eventual plans to produce more than 1 million barrels annually.

In early 2016, the company opened a second, 190,000 sq. ft. production facility and distribution center located just one mile from its original brewery. That location focuses exclusively on the production of “barrel-aged, experimental, high-gravity, and specialty beers,” and does not feature a taproom.

Between 2014 and 2015, the company committed to spending more than $40 million via two expansions that would push capacity to about 1.2 million barrels annually.

The 20-year-old Founders, which sold a 30 percent stake to Mahou San Miguel at the end of 2014, shipped 347,780 barrels of beer in 2016.

Additional information is included in the press release, below.


The taproom will be adjacent to sports arenas, music venues and more in the burgeoning Cass Corridor neighborhood

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 Grand Rapids, Mich. Founders Brewing Co. announced today that, for the first time in their 20-year history, they will open a second taproom. The new facility will feature a fully-operational brewery and retail taproom located in the lower Cass Corridor neighborhood in Midtown Detroit, Michigan, a burgeoning cultural hub adjacent to sports arenas, music venues and more.

“Having been born and raised in the metro area, Detroit has long held a special place in my heart,” said Mark Dorich, Founders’ Vice President of Retail Operations. “It’s a hard working, no-nonsense, culturally diverse and musically-inspired town, which happens to have the best sports teams in the country. Some of our strongest support has come from the east side of Michigan, and we could not think of a better place to expand our taproom experience. We anticipate creating a taproom that is inspired by what we do in Grand Rapids, but unique in its own Motown way. We’re excited to be a larger part of ‘the D’!”

Based in Grand Rapids since 1997, Founders’ decision to open a second taproom in Detroit reaffirms their longstanding commitment and pride in their home state of Michigan. The new location will include a full-service taproom serving unique menu items and locally-made Founders beers from the on-site brewery, in addition to the classic Founders lineup. Founders plans to staff the facility primarily with Detroit-area employees in an effort to contribute to local job growth and economic revitalization. Hiring will begin in summer 2017.

The 14,000 square foot building is located at 456 Charlotte St. and will undergo construction beginning in summer 2017. The grand opening is targeted for winter of 2017. Founders has partnered with Midtown Detroit Inc. and Invest Detroit on the development of the property.

“The introduction of a brand like Founders Brewing Co. to the South Cass neighborhood will have a catalytic impact and attract others to invest,” said Sue Mosey, executive director, Midtown Detroit, Inc.

Midtown Detroit Inc. has partnered with Invest Detroit to bring the development to life.

“We are again pleased to partner and co-invest with Midtown Detroit, Inc. to facilitate the redevelopment of a building in this emerging district,” said Dave Blaszkiewicz, President and Chief Executive Officer of Invest Detroit. “Sue Mosey and her team have done an amazing job of attracting new businesses to the community. This location for the highly recognized Founders Brewing Co. will be a critical asset to encourage additional investment to revitalize the surrounding area.”

More details regarding the project will be released as they become available. Stay tuned to for more.

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 20 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 proud member of the Michigan Brewers Guild. For more information, visit or follow Founders on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

About Midtown Detroit Inc.

Midtown Detroit Inc. is a nonprofit planning and development organization that supports the physical maintenance and revitalization of the Midtown Detroit neighborhood, while working to enhance public awareness, appreciation and use of the district. Its predecessor organizations, the University Cultural Center Association (UCCA) and New Center Council, have been working to encourage new mixed income housing, increased visitorship to area attractions, new commercial activity, and infrastructure investments throughout the Midtown/New Center districts. More details here:

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