All Day IPA produced in Colorado will "freshest product possible" to the West Coast.
When I toured Founders Brewing Company’s Grand Rapids, Michigan, production facility in 2015, the brewery showed obvious signs of a rapid expansion: blown out walls leading to increasingly larger fermenters culminating with what was then a new toy, a massive 300-barrel brewhouse. (For comparison, plenty of well-known craft brewers suffice with a 30-barrel or smaller brewhouse.) Driving all this expansion was primarily one beer: the popular session IPA known as All Day IPA.
Since that time, Founders and All Day IPA have shown no signs of slowing down — and that growth is leading to Colorado where the Michigan-based brewery has announced it plans to start producing All Day IPA in an agreement with Avery Brewing. "Beginning in 2019, we will start contract brewing All Day IPA at Avery. The beer made at Avery will head west, providing our West Coast customers with the freshest product possible," Founders wrote on its website. "Rest assured, anything created with the Founders name on it will be just as delicious and consistent with product coming out of Grand Rapids. Our production team has completed a number of quality checks at the Avery facility. We’re confident in their system’s ability to replicate All Day IPA."
Interestingly enough, Founders also added this tidbit: "This marks an exciting chapter in Founders’ history and, in a way, kind of brings our story full-circle. The last time we contract brewed was when we brewed our first batch back in 1997!" (For those not up on beer lingo, "contract brewing" means to brew in a facility that you don’t own and operate.)
Meanwhile, as Good Beer Hunting pointed out upon seeing yesterday’s news, this story goes even a bit deeper. While Founders expects to see its volume grow 24 percent this year to about 580,000 barrels (making it likely one of the 15 largest breweries in the country), Avery has seen its production stagnate, likely to somewhere in the 60,000 barrel range. That’s an especially big deal because Avery moved into a new production facility in 2015 that can produce up to 150,000 barrels per year. Founders is apparently producing as much as 350,000 barrels of All Day IPA at this point, so Michigan-based brewer can certainly help Avery fill some space in their production calendar. Plus, another important wrinkle: Both Founders and Avery have ownership stakes from the same larger producer: Mahou San Miguel. The Spanish beer company bought 30 percent of Founders in 2014, and an equal stake in Avery in 2017. So this move also keeps things "in the family" in a way.
But brewing politics aside, Founders choice to seek outside space certainly speaks to the fact that the brand is expecting All Day IPA to continue to be a big part of its business moving forward. Though the session IPA trend might not be as hot as it was a few years ago, Founders is banking that its iteration is here to stay.