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October 26, 2011 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2011-10-26

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4B d s 6 1 / t
By Josh Healy
How two college buddies created
one of Michigan's premiere craft breweries
Founders Brewing Company was established in Grand Rapids. Mich. nl
A pair of
yellow bolt
rests on a win-
dowsill in Dave
Engbers's office at Found-
ers Brewing Company, a symbol of the
brewery's never-say-die attitude. Engbers
purchased the bolt cutters in 2001 during
what might've beenhFounders's final week
of business, after the bank threatened to . CI
lock the doors if it didn't receive a payment.
But these days, it's hard to tell that this
craft-brewing giant was once an anemic b
business on the verge of bankruptcy. Its
taproom pulsates with patrons, its main f
brew room has rows of massive tanks that
each hold hundreds of barrels of beer and its
operations are so efficient that some work-
ers are finished before lunchtime.
Yet it seems Founders, located in Grand
Rapids, Mich., shouldn't still be around.
Craft brewing started as a hobby for Eng-
bers, co-founder, vice president and direc-
tor of marketing, and Mike Stevens,
co-founder and president of Founders
Brewing Company. The hobby became
their passion, turned into their business
and for a time, disso ed into a nightmare.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 / The Statement EB
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