Founders taproom hosts KBS Week finale

GRAND RAPIDS — Founders Brewing Co. was the hottest spot in Grand Rapids this past Saturday, as the brewery rounded out a week-long, city-wide party of the highly-acclaimed KBS.

From March 18-22, Grand Rapids played host to nearly 20 KBS tapping events across the city and at selected retailers throughout the area.

On Saturday, patrons lined up outside in the cold and waited patiently for entry into the Founders taproom, awaiting a taste of the sought-after KBS.

Inside the taproom, people buried their noses in snifters and inhaled deeply. They sipped slowly and their thirst for KBS, which had been building for over a year, was satisfied. 

“This entire week has been crazy. It has been jam packed,” said Mike Stevens, Co-Founder and CEO of Founders Brewing Co. “The cool part about it is, we turned it into this whole week-long celebration. It has been a city-wide celebration.”

Turning the KBS release into a multi-day event helped make it about more than just the beer, Stevens said.

“We love the feel and the vibe of it this year,” he said. “KBS this year wasn’t just about Founders, It was about Grand Rapids. It was about BeerCity USA.”

Emphasis was also put on getting the beer out to retail partners and having them get first-hand experience with KBS tappings.

“Virtually every single promo we’ve been to, there were lines out the door,” Stevens said. “It was really cool to watch retailers’ reactions to the events. They really got to see first-hand the impact that this beer has made on people. They were blowing through kegs anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes.”

In addition to the beer happenings across town, KBS bottle releases were held for those who were lucky enough to purchase tickets in advance online. Each day, 600 ticket holders were allowed to pick up their beer.

“All of the proceeds of the ticket costs all went to charity,” Stevens said. “We were able to get $12,000 to the river restoration project here in Grand Rapids.”

According to Stevens, he estimated the events throughout the week brought between 6,000 to 8,000 people to the city. But he still feels more can be done in future years.

“We put it out to Grand Rapids and the public and retail customers. And we want to see more of that,” Stevens said. “We brought in six to 8,000, but let’s bring in 30,000. I think it’s doable.

“It can really truly be a week-long celebration of beer in Grand Rapids. It would be a drinking man’s Disneyland.”

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