Tag Archives: Founders

A Local Stimulus Package

Three essential products, nine great businesses.  Support the local economy and say NO to the recession.

The Trifecta of Carne

Real life butchers (as opposed to meat wrappers and trimmers) providing special cuts, handmade sausages, properly aged meats and great service.  Research will show that a family that grills together will stay together.


My personal favorite. Great selection and service. Their top sirloin steaks are the best grilling value on the market.  Get your whole meal here too: appetizers, meat, potatoes, veggies, fruits and beverages.

Van Balls

A neighborhood favorite and the supplier of my award winning brisket in 2007. These guys are so old school, they don’t have website! (maybe they should?)



Never been there but this business comes highly recommended. Plus their competition team (The Smokin’ Scotsmen) has kicked my butt several times.


Tres Cappuccinos

Inconsistent barristas make this a hard category to handicap.  However, I am not here to waffle.  Here are my selections for the best in the area:

It’s a Grind

It’s a decent “Una tazza di Beppe”. Service is friendly,  A convenient drive through.


The only place that knows exactly what I mean when I order one “wet” (the others are a 50/50 shot, depends on who is working!)

Red Ball Jet Cafe

A Gilmore Group establishment. A bit inconsistent in making the exact same cup each time, still a good, hot beverage to pick up and be on the way.

The Three Kings of Craft Beer

The undisputed leaders in the clubhouse.  Three breweries that literally have “been there and done that”.

Founder’s Brewery

An award winning brewery with award winning philosophies. (also the original and first crazy, deranged fools) Thanks Hugh!

New Holland


Not only craft beers, but craft spirits I can vouch for the Amber Rum. Very good, with a lot depth but not too sweet.

Bell’s Brewery

This is low hanging fruit. Too easy. A pioneer! Creator of Oberon! Not exactly Grand Rapids, but Kalamazoo is a kissing cousin.

Who did I miss?  Let me know so I pay my respects!



Filed under Uncategorized

Give your Honey, a Honey Wheat for Valentines Day

I recently had the pleasure of taking a tour of Founder’s Brewery.  First of all, I love Founder’s beer.  If you have never had it, go to the grocery store (or if you live near Grand Rapids, MI go to Founder’s) and buy some.  I really like their Honey Wheat and I never say no to a pitcher of their Pale Ale.

Founder’s was founded by Mike Stevens and Dave Engbers and opened its first location in the Brassworks Building (on Monroe Ave) in 1997.  The two met at Hope College and at the time there was only one brewery in Michigan: Bell’s.  They both loved home brewing and finally decided that it was time to start doing what they love. 

Dave was the one who gave the tour and mentioned that his Mom taught cooking lessons while he was growing up, so he had always been in the kitchen with her.  He says that the kitchen work really gave him the base of how to work with flavors that he now uses in making beer.

Along with building a brewery, they added a Tap Room, which kept them afloat for a long time.  But finally they said, “we need to do something different.”  So they completely revised their business objective to “Its all about the liquid.”

They also started focusing on more unique beer styles, for example Scotch Ales, to entice new segments of the market.  When they introduced their now popular Dirty Bastard to their investors, they were told “No way, you can’t sell that, its offensive!”, so they sent it to a beer competition and won 1st place in the Scotch Ale category.  “We figure, either you fly or you fall and die.  We’re gonna go down on our own terms.” Now, Founder’s is the 7th highest rated Brewery in the World and the 3rd highest rated brewery in America.

It doesn’t look like they are going to fall and die any time soon.  Just less than a year ago, they moved to a new, larger location on Grandville Ave.  “We had to move because we couldn’t fill all of the orders, we were only filling 50%.”  Even with the new building they said that they aren’t filling 100% of the orders.  Is an expansion in the workings? “Hell Yes!”


So, to sum up, Founder’s Brewery is growing  by following the best business objective I can think of: by putting their product’s quality first.  I highly recommend you try what they’ve been brewing.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized