Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Founders Brewing Co. has announced that it will be significantly expanding its brewing production facility starting in late October, pending approvals.
The current site at 235 Grandville Ave. SW will be modified in two separate phases: the first will add approximately 37,000-square-feet for new production equipment, including new fermentation tanks and a new 300 barrel brew house, as well as space for additional offices. The second phase will add approximately 20,000-square-feet for packing equipment and more space for fermenting. The last time the brewery expanded was last fall, when it opened an updated retail space, a second indoor bar and a beer garden.
“The focus of this expansion is to increase the capacity of our production facility—to brew more beer right here in Grand Rapids, Michigan,” said Mike Stevens, co-founder and ceo of Founders. “Because of increasing demand from the growing beer enthusiast community, we aren’t able to fill orders right now. We’re expanding because we’re committed to this city, this state and the craft beer community.”
After the first phase of the expansion is complete in mid-2015, the brewery will have a maximum brewing capacity of 500,000 barrels of beer, and after both phases of construction are finished, the new facility will have room to eventually hold equipment capable of brewing 900,000 barrels of beer, a number that would put Founders in the same league as breweries like Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and New Belgium Brewing. The total will be reached incrementally after adding more fermenters, packing equipment and staff. The company expects to add 72 new jobs ranging from sales to operations to managerial over three years.
According to the brewery, it will ship 200,00 barrels of beer in 2014 and expects to ship 300,000 barrels in 2015. While no new markets are scheduled to be opened in 2014, Founders will start looking at new distribution targets in mid-2015.