Founders Brewing apologizes for KBS release hysteria, says it is brewing 3x for 2013

founders kbs 575

(Grand Rapids, MI) – Founders Brewing released this statement on their website on Saturday afternoon. Some people reportedly waited over 12 hours in line for Founders KBS. Even those who showed up at 7am apparently missed out. Gathering info but read the statement below in the meantime…

Early this morning we made the decision, right or wrong, to limit the purchase of Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) bottles to 1/2 case per person rather than the full case that we have done in the past and that we had communicated to our consumers.

First of all, we want to thank everyone for their support, their loyalty, and their appreciation for good craft beer–if nobody cared about KBS, we wouldn’t be sending out this communication because there would be no issue. The turnout for our release today was a testament to the dedication of the beer enthusiasts and to how far our industry has come over the years.

When we saw how many people had come from across the country to buy KBS, we were taken by surprise. We knew we couldn’t make everyone happy: with over 1000 people in line and only 315 cases to go around, the decision was made to try to get KBS to as many dedicated beer enthusiasts as possible so that the majority of those in line didn’t leave empty handed (though some still did). We cut our individual allocation in half; 634 people bought KBS and we ran out before the last 362 people got to the front of the line.

There is no way for us to predict what the response will be to releases like this. Last year, we were able to take care of the majority of those that waited in line, and we increased the number of cases for the release this year as much as we could. Unfortunately, because this beer is aged for about a year in bourbon barrels in the caves beneath Grand Rapids, we brewed it about a year ago–when we were still limited to the production capacity of a 30 bbl brewhouse. Next year’s release will be about three times the size, because we were able to brew it on our new 85 bbl brewhouse just recently. We understand that this will still, most likely, not get supply up enough to match demand for this product, but we see it as an improvement.

Our vision for our release parties has been to get the core beer enthusiasts to our brewery for a fun time, to foster new friendships and new stories to tell. We’ve always wanted it to be more about the experience than the beer that folks leave with, and we’re sorry if that experience today was tarnished for anyone because of the decision that we made early this morning.

We ask any of you that want to express your feelings about how our KBS bottle release was run to email us. The only way for a growing company like us to learn from events like this is for us to hear directly from the people that attended. We appreciate any constructive criticism that you’re able to send our way. Please send your email to info [at] foundersbrewing [dot] com with ATTN: KBS RELEASE PARTY in the subject line. We will collect these emails and will use them to re-evaluate the process through which we distribute KBS in the future.

Thanks again for all of your support and understanding.

–Mike Stevens and Dave Engbers, co-founders

14 thoughts on “Founders Brewing apologizes for KBS release hysteria, says it is brewing 3x for 2013

  1. For those who waited in line who genuinely wanted the beer for personal use, I feel bad.
    For those who waited to stock up to resell it, fuck you. You know it’s happening.
    Craft beer geekery has gone too far, as evidenced by today. Those who waited to buy the beer so they could drink it, cellar it, and share it with real friends (note: Facebook and BA connections are not real friends…) got screwed.
    Those who got it, congrats. I hope you do the right thing and enjoy it, as opposed to the bottom-feeders who are selling it for profit.

  2. I feel sorry for the 635th person in line — nothing worse than being the next one in line and it sells out.

  3. Amen Beer Jon! I live a fairly short drive from Founders, and there was no way in hell I was even trying to go up there for this. I’ve heard these beer release parties can be fun, with lots of beer talk and bonding over our favorite brews, but at this point I feel like it’s being co-opted by a hyper-masculine competitive element only interested in hoarding or re-selling for big bucks. I feel like Founders slightly dropped the ball by not reminding everyone that this batch was brewed on the old, much smaller system. Likewise, I understand a brewery not wanting to buy into its own hype, but if they would have just asked me, I could have told them they would have at least 1,000 people in line and that their originally announced case-per-person limit would be unrealistic. Still, everyone in that line should have known something like this could happen and not been the least bit surprised when it did, let alone start filling Founders in-box with a bunch of hate mail.

  4. I live in Philadelphia and we have an amazing craft beer scene here. Unfortunately, there isn’t too many beers on the market that live up to the KBS, I had the good fortune to buy 4 or 5 bottles last year and had no idea what good luck I had. From what I hear, the Philadelphia area will be lucky to get ever a small pallet of KBS which will be shared amongst the entire region. If I was able to get even 1 bottle I’d be incredibly fortunate. I guess I’m just bitching that there isn’t more of a good thing. I guess anytime you have a short fall in supply the invisible hand will be putting things on ebay… Oh well. I’m on the look out for a case of back woods bastard to hold me over…

  5. I’m a small business owner in chicago. Back in the days, kbs would sit on my shelf for months! Months!! Not too many beer geeks years ago! Not no more! Now my rep tells me, ” I’m working on getting you a case” working? A case? I spent all these years sitting on these beers,( but I sold them) now my reward is; maybe I’ll get a case? Now you have these big liquor stores, that never cared about these beers, and organic food stores, yes organic, getting 3 to 5 cases more than me! and they didn’t even put up a sweat! But they get rewarded!! Just thought I’d let you know, as a small business owner, I’m also being hurt in a different aspect of this craft beer madness!

  6. @beerjon
    What country do you live in again? The U.S? What type of economy are we? Capitalist? Comments like yours just seem ignorant. To all the people that didn’t get it, the harsh truth is this: YOU DID NOT WANT IT BADLY ENOUGH. If you did, you would have gotten up earlier and lined up closer to the front of the line. To blame others for what you did or didn’t get just reeks of entitlement. You are ALLOWED to buy the beer. You don’t DESERVE IT. If you did not get it, then YOU did something wrong. Don’t blame others who wanted it more than you, regardless of what their real motives were.

  7. @BeerJon….perfect thoughts. I couldn’t agree more.
    @beertruth….sounds like you are just the type of person that a typical craft beer lover hates, one who gets involved and excited about a release when there is a profit to be made. Allowed to buy the beer and enjoy it, yes. Allowed to sell it??? Well, that is questionable. Unless perhaps you have a license to sell alcohol. The thing about selling alcohol for the collectible bottle and not the contents inside is bogus.

    Chances are though that some people who wanted to buy it, but fell short will probably get to try a sample from a good craft beer friend.

  8. Whether it’s 24 bottles or 12 bottles, I do not believe many people in that line were looking to sell their allotment. Please… Even if you make 20 bucks per bottle – $240 profit on a case? And wait in line for 12 hours???? No way. I was in line and had a riot. The beer sharing was intense. And nobody around me was interested in selling it OR trading it. I brought bottles of the 2010 and 2011 release and everyone around me dug it. Great decision Founders. 24 bottles or 12 bottles. Not much difference. I think it was a good decision.

  9. @Hunter

    Since you live in Philadelphia, you may be interested to know that PUB & KITCHEN (20th & Lombard St.) is tapping a sixtel of KBS2012 later today, Monday March 26th around 5pm! The incredible crew at Founders has graciously sent us this years KBS for Draught consumption. We are thrilled. Hope you can make it by.

    P&K Bar Crew

  10. Stout & Freights!!!..

    live by the rails, drink it by the rails…

    huge thanks to Leroy at Cellar Liquors in Neenah, WI for stopping me from walking out w/o

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  12. @beertruth – You sound like a clear yuppie and it’s people like you who ruin the enjoyment of craft beer for the rest of us. It’s sad you think that because you live in the US that means it’s fair game to rape others. Let me ask you a question. If you saw an opportunity to rob someone without getting caught would you do it? I think based on your answer it’s clear what you would do. You are truly sad. I’ve never had this beer and don’t really care this much because I have 5 cases of Westvleteren 12 at my house which is better than any beer you’ve ever I just had to comment on your total and complete failure as a human being.

  13. Pingback: Beer fans do it again, bring down Brown Paper Tickets for Founders KBS release | BeerPulse

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