Founders Brewing Company is celebrating twenty years in the brewing industry and they’ve come a long way since their inception. This outstanding craft brewery offers a great range of brews from year-round to barrel-aged and we’ve mentioned their amazing brews many times in the past. However, we feel they really deserve a big Hats Off for their many accomplishments over the years, as twenty years in the brewing industry is pretty darn impressive. Sure, several companies have lasted that long, but often they lose popularity over time as new craft breweries pop up every year. Founders has held onto their high standards and impressive popularity for two decades with brews that are still gaining 100 point rankings with BeerAdvocate, RateBeer, and many others. That is quite impressive!
Founders Brewing Company, located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, has already shown the craft beer enthusiasts of the world exactly how dedicated they are to bringing forth great craft beer that holds to their high standards time after time. With several brews that have gained medals at a variety of brewing events here in the United States and around the world, we’re not surprised that they have such a following world-wide.
Currently there are a total of 23 brews that Founders offers to their patrons, though some are seasonal brews that you’ll have to wait for and hoard accordingly. Our own resident Portaholic hoards their Founders Porter as if it were made of gold, which both amuses and frustrates us (she really needs to learn to share). This habit is not that unusual, as several enthusiasts stash away their seasonal brews when they get the chance and bottle age those that are capable of such delightful practices, such as their barrel-aged brew Backwoods Bastard. Something about bottle aging an already great craft beer really interests folks and we’ve done it too. The resulting brew is always a new treasure to enjoy, as the aromas and flavors develop in each bottle over time.
However, it is Founders sheer determination to create such outstanding brews that gives us the chance to do this. That special drive is how they have gained their place in the top five breweries in the world on listings such as RateBeer. With over 4,000 breweries in the United States alone, you can only imagine how many there are world-wide, so gaining such an honored placement is pretty darn big and they deserve it. Over a dozen medals have been won by a mere handful of their brews, which is an amazing feat as well. We can only imagine how many more shiny placards will adorn the walls in the years to come, because every brew they release seems to possess the perfection they strive for.
Founders does not let their drive stop at the bottling. The labels on their brews really show how deeply they feel for the brew inside. The artwork on each label is absolutely lovely, from their beautiful portraits to the sticky creation of the label for their reDANKulous, which apparently required some seriously painstaking creativity involving actual hops. We feel for the artist of that one, as real hops was used to create the label, which became the label for all of their 12-ounce bottles. It has a very “That 70’s Show” look to it and we had to smile at the thought behind it, because the brew really does have a wealth of hoppy goodness inside every bottle.
On the left is their Backwoods Bastard which showcases the outstanding quality of the art on their labels. This very label gives us a new view of the folk of old and we can actually imagine an old woodsman headed out with his axe and a skin of brew for the day. All that is missing is the mule to haul the wood and a trusty hound to warn him of dangers unknown in the dark and forbidding woods in which he sweats the day away. Many of their labels hold this gorgeous portrait type art and many enthusiasts love to collect the bottles simply for the art, let alone the delicious brews inside.
Ok, we realize we’ve stolen the classic quote about women and twisted it a bit, but this fact is entirely true, as Founders’ founders discovered early on. After a dismal and well-mannered beginning, they finally had to accept that such brewery types were already famous (AB-Inbev is great at lukewarm flavor and too much balance). It was not until they were facing complete failure that they saw the truth. People didn’t want just another weak example of brewing. They wanted aroma, flavor, body, and bang. That’s where they found their success in the end. Right there in their not-your-usual styles of brew!
Once they accepted that the brews THEY loved were what everyone else wanted as well, they began to gain a major following and the result is a company that has seen major success with each brew they release. While their brews may not be everyone’s preference, they don’t intend for them to be such. They brew craft beer that suits their own tastes and the tastes of those like them, which is apparently quite a large population that includes those of us here at West Palm Beach Brewery and The Vault. We love their brews and enjoy featuring them whenever we get the chance.
Twenty years have seen them through ups, downs, and spin-arounds in the industry, as well as gained them a huge following, an outstanding reputation for excellence, and a lot of memories. If you get the chance, you should really check out their Zero Regrets Artist Series, which features a range of local and world-wide artists commissioned to create art that truly expresses their brewing style, zero regrets mentality, and the many great points in their two decades of history in the industry. We recently took the time to browse through their lovely art gallery and were highly impressed with the feeling each piece gave to the moment. Our hats are off to Founders creators, Mike Stevens and Dave Engbers, who have spent a great part of their lives striving to bring us some of the best brews on the market.
If you get the chance, pay them a visit and check out some of the amazing brews they offer, which we’ll be featuring throughout the coming week in honor of their twenty year history in the brewing industry. Leave us a comment about some of the delicious Founders brews you’ve tried and what you thought of them and perhaps your comment will become part of the future features!
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