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Michigan’s Founders Brewing Co. launching distribution in Memphis soon

March 14, 2014 By: mike Category: Breweries, Craft beer, Distribution, Memphis

Founders Brewing pint glassMichigan-based Founders Brewing Co., one of the top-rated craft breweries in the country, is coming soon to Memphis.

Founders is launching distribution in the Bluff City through Budweiser of Memphis in a matter of weeks. The brewery and distributor celebrated Thursday night with a small party at Local Gastropub in Midtown, giving a lucky few a sneak peek at Founders’ offerings.

Austin Sawyer, import, craft and specialty brand manager for Budweiser of Memphis, predicted the Founders arrival would be “one of the biggest craft (beer) launches in Memphis in 2014. … They really put an emphasis on quality.”

Founders is set to start distribution here between March 31 and April 4, Sawyer said. At the start, the Grand Rapids, Michigan, beer will be available on draft-only at bars and restaurants. But 30 days later, bottles and cans will also be available for sale in stores.

Founders’ Pale Ale and All Day IPA Session Ale — both lower-gravity beers — will be available in grocery stores. Liquor stores will have Founders’ higher-gravity Centennial IPA, Porter and Curmudgeon Old Ale. Sawyer said Founders’ limited and specialty beers will be available on a very limited basis in Memphis in 2014.

All Day IPA

All Day IPA, which is Founders’ flagship beer and a 2010 GABF Silver Medal Winner, will be available in packages of 15 cans that should sell for about $17.99 at most stores. It’s a full-flavored beer that impresses with its hop character and low ABV, clocking in at just 4.7%. You could drink several at a sitting and be just fine.

“All Day IPA is going to be the lead dog here,” predicted John Marchetti, Founders’ Southeast Regional Sales Director. Sales of the Centennial IPA, Pale and Porter should also be strong, he said.

Founders opened for business in 1997. The brewery recently finished its fourth expansion in five years, bringing its brewing capacity to 340,000 barrels a year.

“For the first time in our history, we have excess capacity,” Marchetti said, adding that Tennessee, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana are being added to Founders’ distribution network in 2014. Florida and Texas were added last year.

When Founders launches in Memphis, it will also roll out at the same time in Nashville through Bounty Bev, and it will soon make its way to other parts of the state.