Following its sale to Mahou San Miguel, Founders Brewing is - sadly - no longer available as a tour stop with Michigan Brew Tours.
The announcement that Michigan's own Founders Brewing Company is selling 90% of its ownership to Spanish-based Mahou San Miguel was quite a blow to the Michigan craft beer community. Shock, sorrow, disappointment, and confusion were common responses of consumers in The Great Beer State as the news broke Thursday.
Even though Mahou San Miguel has owned a 30% stake in Founders since 2014, the brewery was still a local source of pride throughout the Michigan craft beer community. Opened in Grand Rapids in 1997, Founders was an example of a small, local brewery that built its brand on high-quality product, diverse styles, and a strong sense of its place in the Michigan brewing industry. It's grown to be the largest brewery in Michigan and 14th largest in the U.S.
While we at Michigan Brew Tours wish the founders of Founders, Mike Stevens and Dave Engbers, all the best as they continue on as minority shareholders, we can't help but feel a bit conflicted by this development. We love craft beer and have always placed on emphasis on sharing what we love with others, primarily in the hopes that we could expose our customers to something new and exciting for the first time, stimulating their palates and expanding their knowledge of local, independent breweries.
Our support of craft beer and the Michigan craft community is at odds with Founders emergence as "no longer local" and "no longer independent". Founders is no longer ours to proudly claim as our own. And they certainly don't need us to promote them.
Therefore, it is with great sadness that we remove Founders from our list of tour partners henceforth. While this is an announcement that will undoubtedly (and understandably) go unnoticed by Founders, it is something that we at Michigan Brew Tours wanted to announce and explain to you, our guests. We hope you understand and continue to come experience great craft beer with us.
And as always - Drink In The Great Beer State!