Brewery secures funds for $40.4M expansion


Founders Brewing Co. in Grand Rapids is rated the second-best brewery in the U.S. by and several of its beers are listed among the top 100 beers in the world by Photo via

A brewery embarking on a major expansion project is sourcing funds from multiple sources.

In support of Founders Brewing Co.’s $40.4-million expansion in Grand Rapids, the state’s marketing arm, or Michigan Economic Development Corp., said today that the Michigan Strategic Fund has approved a brownfield plan submitted by the Grand Rapids Brownfield Redevelopment Authority — for "school and local tax capture" valued at $4.2 million for the project.

Founders Brewing Co. will use the brownfield tax increment financing, or TIF, to help fund for the “demolition, site preparation, infrastructure improvements and streetscaping” for the project, according to the state.

The state also said it has awarded Founders Brewing a $250,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant for the project.

The city of Grand Rapids is supporting the project in the form of a tax abatement.

The expansion

The funds will support Founders' expansion, which will more than double its production capacity.

The expansion, which Founders Brewing first announced in September, is expected to create 72 jobs over three years, including positions in management, operations and sales.

Founders hopes to finish the project by the middle of 2015, with aspirations to be a national brand positioned to grow with the craft beer market.

Founders is distributed in more than 30 states and 12 countries.

Doubling production

The production upgrades will give the brewery the potential to produce 900,000 barrels annually. A barrel is 31 gallons.

This year, the brewery expects to distribute 200,000 barrels. Next year, output will likely reach 300,000 barrels.

Last year, Founders was the 26th-largest brewery by volume, with about 112,000 barrels. Bell’s Brewery in Galesburg was No. 7, producing 250,000 barrels.

In 2013, Founders completed a $26-million expansion that brought its production capacity up to 340,000. 

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