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US. GR Brewery Announces $26 Million Expansion

Founders Brewing Co. in Grand Rapids is moving forward with a $26 million expansion.

The Right Place, a regional non-profit economic development organization, in collaboration with The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and The City of Grand Rapids has announced the approval of $2 million of a Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant with repayment terms for Grand Rapids-based Founders Brewing Co.

The grant allows the brewery to move forward with its expansion, , which is expected to create 52 new jobs for the area over three years. The positions will range from managerial to service, with the bulk of positions being in the operations and services sector.

“Founders Brewing Co. is a shining star in Grand Rapids, not only from a consumer standpoint but also with regard to economic development,” said Susan Jackson, Senior Business Development Manager, The Right Place, Inc. “This expansion confirms that Grand Rapids continues to find a niche in the craft brewing industry. We are pleased to help Founders Brewing Co. grow in Grand Rapids.”
“The craft beer market continues to grow,” said Mike Stevens, President and CEO, Founders Brewing Co., “and demand for Founders beers has caused our growth to outpace average industry growth. Meeting this demand requires a significant upfront investment in additional facility area and, more importantly, in additional equipment. We are grateful for this incentive assistance, which will allow us to keep up with demand and to be in a position to hire more people to help us grow the brewery.”

In just five years since moving to its Grandville Avenue location, Founders Brewing Co. has increased production and taproom sales to a point where demand requires this expansion.

Demand for the expanded facility will be supported by Founders Brewing Co.’s existing network of 62 distributors across 23 states and new distributors in new markets.

Over $22 million of the $26 million expansion will be used for purchase of new brewing and fermenting vessels and other equipment, while nearly $4 million will be spent on expanding the brewing facility, located at 235 Grandville Avenue in downtown Grand Rapids. Once complete, the brewery will have capacity to produce approximately 300,000 barrels of beer annually, or four times its current capacity.

The expansion will occur in phases, the first of which consists of expanding the brewery’s fermentation hall.

The City of Grand Rapids has also recently offered a 12-year property tax abatement valued at approximately $300,000 for the project.

20 Dec. 2012

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