I've seldom made a secret of the great, big spot in my craft-beer-loving heart that's reserved solely for Michigan's popular Founders Brewing Co. The Grand Rapids-based brewery is where I first cut my craft teeth nearly -- gulp -- ten years ago, when my future best friend took me to their original taproom for a pint (or three). She neglected to warn me of how potent the brews were, but I understood with that first taste of real beer that I had met my match (both in brews and in friends).
In the 15 years since Founders debuted, the rest of the country has eagerly formed a strong bond with the brewer. Founders -- particularly its celebrated Breakfast Stout -- is one of the most sought-after American crafters in play. And next year, it's finally coming to Florida.
The news broke last week, when MLive.com/Grand Rapids Press revealed that Founders is planning to expand distribution in the coming year. (Full disclosure: I used to work for Grand Rapids Press.) Florida is included on the short list of new states where Founders products will be sold in 2013.
Clean Plate Charlie reached out to Founders for comment, and as can be expected this early in the game, details are limited. According to Founders' communications manager; "We haven't confirmed distributors in Florida yet, so we can't be sure on any dates, but we're hoping to ship beer at some point in the first quarter of 2013." Clean Plate Charlie will track this story as it develops, as well as physically roll out the welcome mat when a date is settled upon.
Meanwhile, in other beer news, Goose Island will make its long-awaited debut on Tuesday at Tap 42 in Fort Lauderdale. The bar had originally scheduled its tap takeover party and debut for November 20, but the Florida distributor for Goose Island postponed the release until November 27. So, Tap 42 reluctantly rescheduled the event, but will plan on hosting kegs of Goose Island IPA, Honker's Ale, 312 Urban Wheat, and Mild Winter. The kegs will be tapped promptly at 7 p.m. Start keeping your eye peeled for the iconic goose taps in other local bars.
Finally, Cigar City Brewing announced this week the creation of a division dedicated to cider and mead, appropriately named Cigar City Cider and Mead. The Tampa brewery has tapped its first cider in their taproom and kegs should ship by next month.
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