- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 1, 2014

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - Founders Brewing Co. is planning a $35 million expansion project that will double the size of its Grand Rapids facility to occupy a city block.

The craft brewery on Thursday will seek roughly $5.2 million in reimbursement through tax capture funds from the city’s Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, the Grand Rapids Press (https://bit.ly/1nK6Jxn ) reported. The expansion will give the brewery the capacity to make 900,000 barrels of beer annually. It expects to have produced about 270,000 barrels by the end of 2014.

“We’re fast-tracking this,” said Mike Stevens, CEO of Founders. “We’re trying to move forward on this as quickly as we can.”

But the project depends on city and state assistance, Stevens said.

“We do need the support of the city,” he said. “We need this whole city block to produce the kind of volume we need to produce effectively.”

Founders is planning to seek assistance from the state’s Business Development program, as well as request tax breaks for industrial facilities, according to city documents.

Members of the city economic development staff have recommended approval of a third amendment to the brewery’s original agreement, which dates back to 2007.

The company currently employs about 230 and estimates the larger facility would allow it to produce 70 new jobs. The company’s sales this year have risen by more than 50 percent over 2013.

Founders is expected to break into the Top 15 largest craft brewery list by the end of the year, according to Stevens.

“We believe that our existing markets will consume most of the volume we have in 2015. We’ll start pushing westward maybe in the fourth quarter of 2015, but for sure in 2016,” he said. “Obviously, our intention is to be a national brand.”

Founders hopes to break ground in late October on the expansion that would add about 60,000 square feet to its facility. The city planning commission is set to review the project in a few weeks.

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Information from: The Grand Rapids Press, https://www.mlive.com/grand-rapids


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