Founders orders round two with beer garden and education facility
On the heels of a brewery expansion that eats up 85 percent of a $26 million investment and adds about 160,000 barrels of annual production is a proposed beer garden, educational facility, expanded kitchen, company store and more offices. The expansion would increase the footprint of the building by 5,500 square feet, but all on the current property.
The site plan is set to go in front of the Grand Rapids Planning Commission in March for a start date in April. Completion is scheduled for this fall.
The educational portion of the expansion would help Dave Engbers, co-founder and director of brands and education, educate beer fans.
"Our industry continues to flourish, and as a leader in the industry, we feel that we have a responsibility to educate our staff, wholesaler and retailer partners, and beer enthusiasts,” Engbers said.
The facility would add to the tours the brewery began in January and also would offer classes on the brewing process and types of beer.
Founders received a $2 million grant from the state and more than $300,000 in tax breaks from the city on the multi-phase project.
Other investments will be made to systems and software, with an added emphasis on energy efficiency.
The company also plans to add 52 jobs in the next three years.
“There’s no question that beer tourism is becoming a bigger and bigger draw all the time,” said Engbers. “And Grand Rapids has become even more of a destination since we were named Beer City USA. We want to continue our support of the industry in our hometown by investing in it.”