Founders Brewing Co. Making Its Way to the Sunshine State

Michiganders and beer geeks rejoice: Grand Rapids based Founders Brewing Co. is about to make its way on to the Florida market.

In 2011 and 2012, the brewery has earned the title as the second best in the world on ratebeer.com.

For the record: Tampa's Cigar City ranked in at number four--just throwing that out there.

Clean Plate Charlie spoke to Founder's Co-Founder and CEO Mike Stevens to find out more about the debut. Read on for details.

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Brown Distributing will be representing the brand, which is slated to arrive on the Florida market sometime in the month of May. They are still working out details for official launch parties, but should come up with exact dates sometime within the next couple of weeks.

Each and every one of Founders' products will be available across the entire state. According to Stevens, "When we open distribution we only work with partners willing to take out whole brand. All of our products will be available on draft, in bottle, and starting in July or August, cans."

The brewery produces about 19 different brews. Started 16 years ago, the brand specializes in what is referred to as "extreme beer," experimenting with different styles and flavors. The brewery does a lot with oak-aging and using different components, like molasses or fruit. Some are available year-round, but it also features an array of seasonal and specialty brews--many of which are released for just a few months or as a one-time shot. Each will be available in Florida at the time of release. Founders' website features a beer calendar indicating which products are currently on the market and release dates for upcoming brews.

Florida will be 25th state to distribute the Founders brand. Available throughout most of the east coast, Florida was a decent-sized hole in the brand's distribution. "Florida has always been an underdeveloped state in terms of the craft industry," said Stevens, "But it's growing quickly. Last year there was a 25% increase in craft beer sales. We wanted to get into the market sooner rather than later."

Stevens is impressed with the current momentum of Florida's own craft breweries. "Now they're popping up left and right. That creates interest in the movement overall," he said.

Stay tuned for additional details on the launch.

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