Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Founders Brewing Company closed...for 2 whole weeks

It's official: Founders Brewing Company has shuttered its taproom doors… at least for a little while. No, this isn't a harkening back to the near-bankruptcy levels that Founders famously (or infamously?) operated at during its early days--it's another stage of the brewery's seemingly ever-expanding presence in Grand Rapids. After investing $26 million into its most recent project, Founders has made sure that its patrons understand that the taproom will be closed starting Tuesday (that's today!) all the way until September 16. That's when the rest of the changes to the taproom--including a spacious beer garden complete with its own bar and at least one fireplace--will be finalized.

I've imagined that many people--both local and from other places in the world--will be clamoring for the taproom while the public is barred from entering. I know at least one person who has already expressed his depression over the temporary closure. He's one of my best friends and he's on a one-month vacation from his position with the Peace Corps in Senegal. During half of his month here in the U.S., Founders will be closed. The man is a huge fan and I'm doing my best to make sure that he gets his fix, but there's nothing enjoying a glass of Dirty Bastard or Red's Rye straight from the source. Depending on how well he maintains his composure, he could end up leading a revolt to break in, manning the taps in his manic state for all those who have a love for Founders and craft beer that is equal to his. Watch out, Founders--there are quite a few of us!

A rendering as imagined from Grandville Avenue | Courtesy of Founders Brewing Co.
As in many other situations, this is an instance where patience is most certainly a virtue. If you haven't seen the renderings, you need to right now. Seriously. Look at them. I've been drooling over them for months--since they were released in April--and so has my friend in the Peace Corps, even though he's been thousands of miles away the entire time. The beautifully landscaped garden! The second level! Those ghost people! Founders is going to be completely different in less than two weeks, but the heart of it will still be there and that heart is what makes Founders so great. The ability for myself and many others, in Michigan and elsewhere, to feel solidarity with the company's spirit is what has turned some of the best beer that is poured in Grand Rapids into some of the best beer that is poured in the entire world.

The private rental space and educational facility, complete with second-floor balcony | Courtesy of Founders Brewing Co.
Interestingly, the company has plans to expand its share of the international craft beer market. Even though the CEO of Founders said that its beer has been available through a Danish wholesaler in Europe for the past five years, the company has not focused much on its game outside of the U.S. until now. The international beer market should be ready for the storming of its beaches as Founders rolls up on the shores of Sweden, Denmark, England, Canada, Australia, and Brazil in the near future, if it hasn't already. Way to represent Michigan on the international level, Founders.