Food Service & Agriculture and Retail

Founders hosts Saturday tours, sells tickets for KBS specialty beer Feb. 16

January 18, 2013
| By Pat Evans |
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Founders hosts Saturday tours, sells tickets for release of KBS specialty beer
Founders' KBS specialty beer has been rated one of the top 10 beers of all time by BeerAdvocate. Photo via fb.com

Following years of brewery secrecy, Founders Brewing Co. is opening up to the world.

The brewery will now offer tours of its production facility on Saturdays at 11:15 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

Prior to this announcement, tours of the facility were only given to wholesale and retail partners, but a growing number of requests to see the production side of the No. 2-rated brewery in the world has grown significantly in the past few years, Founders co-owner Dave Engbers said.

“We’ve gotten to the point where there are so many interested people,” Engbers said. “And beer has become such an important part of tourism now, and people come from across the Midwest to come to Founders.”

The tours are $10 each and include a logo pint glass. The tours are limited to 12 people, so reservations are required.

One-time taproom manager and now education ambassador Gabriel Rains will lead the tours through the brew houses for up-close-and-personal views of the various-sized tanks and the bottling and kegging lines.

Engbers said a couple of years ago the company was brewing in 30-barrel tanks. Now it has moved to 400-barrel tanks.

“We’re proud of our facility, and we just said, ‘Let’s show what separates us from other breweries,’” Engbers said. “Other breweries have offered them for a long time, and we collectively felt like now was the right time.”

KBS release changes slightly

Last year, Founders ran out of its immensely popular and world-renowned Kentucky Breakfast Stout.

In March, when Founders will release the beer again, it will re-structure the event.

Following the lead of October’s BoltCutter, the brewery’s 15th anniversary barleywine, the company will sell tickets for a four-day span for customers to purchase KBS.

The ticketing system should prevent a long line like last year and keep the beer in stock, he said.

“As great as that was to look out the window and see a long line, it created a whole host of issues and a lot of headaches,” Engbers said. “The ticket system will help spread it out.”

People from the far corners of the United States came for last year’s release, as KBS has been rated as one of the top 10 beers of all time by BeerAdvocate.

Tickets for the March 27-30 release will be available at 11 a.m. on Feb. 16. The tap-room release will culminate with a party on March 30, and KBS will become available to Founders’ distribution footprint April 1.

Engbers also said there will be significantly more KBS than previous years, but the exact amount is unknown.

“We have an idea,” he said. “But anytime you put beer in barrels, you never know what you’ll get.”

Although Engbers and the rest of the Founders team are happy with the new system, they know it’s not perfect.

“We want it to be a positive experience for people,” Engbers said. “But people will still buy a bottle for $4, and a few hours later it’ll be on eBay for $75. It’s not a perfect system.”

More information on the KBS release and tickets can be found at the Founders website.

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