Founders Brewing is the rated the second best brewery in the U.S. by Ratebeer.com, and several of its beers are listed among the top 100 beers in the world by Beeradvocate.com. Photo via fb.com
Mike Stevens is a firm believer of, “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.”
And the Founders Brewing Co. president and CEO is in the midst of seeing his company’s building grow larger for the third straight year.
The first phase of the most recent expansion project just began, and has left Stevens with a large hole in the parking lot at 235 Grandville Ave. SW. The construction will add 9,000 square feet to the facility for fermentation purposes, and will be the largest cellar built to date for the company.
The $3.6 million project will add 165,000 barrels of fermentation space for the company and also will add a new brewing vessel in the brew house. The expansion will nearly double the brewery’s output.
“Orders aren’t slowing down,” Stevens said. “There is great demand for our product, and we have to answer.”
Expected to be completed in March, this expansion comes on the heels of last year’s 4,000-square-foot addition and the $6.6 million expansion in 2010.
Founders distributes to 23 states, including Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut and New York, which were added this summer.
Stevens said the company is grateful for having a partner such as Huntington Bank that can keep pace with the growing business, which currently sits as the 42nd largest brewery in the U.S., but could move into the top 30 as early as next year.
“Founders has become a capital-intensive business,” he said. “We’re fortunate to have a partner that can keep up.”
The second phase of the building project involves the company’s office space, which Stevens said would be for a “breathing room,” and will come following the completion of the current work.
“If all goes according to plan, we’ll just keep going,” he said.