Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Great Taste Roadtrip 2011: Tuesday, August 16.

On Tuesday, we took another short drive to Grand Rapids and visited Founders Brewing Company. Chief sales mastermind Michael Bell conducted a short tour and charted the company's expansion; the blank room pictured above is about to be the site of a new brewhouse, and the fermenters are spreading in all directions. Founders has a full block in which to grow, and the area around the brewery, once gone to seed, is gentrifying very quickly.

Every craft brewer has a different plan, and it's always interesting for me to compare notes. There is not a single, solitary "right" way to run your business, to grow it, and to look into the future. Little bits from all of them are useful, and you must be able to see which ones apply to what you're doing.

New Glarus sells a lot of Spotted Cow, which is easy to drink at 5% abv, while Founders counts the 8% Dirty Bastard among its flagships. New Glarus constructed a new building with the exterior aesthetic of the town in mind, and Founders continues to add contemporary industrial space to an older portal. New Holland has added distilling. Capital has an atmospheric seasonal beer garden in the German tradition. What do they all have in common? Excellent beer, and that's what matters most.

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