Founders Brewing update: 12-packs, craft beer bubble and eBay

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(Grand Rapids, MI) – Founders Brewing Co. co-founders, Dave Engbers and Mike Stevens, appeared on MLive.com earlier today as part of a live chat. The two shared and hinted at a few 2013 news items and dished on the craft beer bubble (who hasn’t this week?), eBay, price gouging and cans. To view the chat in full, 1) head over to MLive.com, 2) scroll all the way to the bottom, 3) click the ‘More Comments’ button and 4) Read backwards (up). Some of the key topics highlighted below.

On new beers:

We have four new beers planned for 2013… its a secret though. some old classics, some totally new.

On 12-packs:

IPA in 12 packs (in 2013 – All Day or Centennial?)!

On cans:

We like cans but the reality is that it lends itself to a specific use and bottles are still the preferred container. My biggest concern with cans in the craft industry is more about quality. Canning lines can be a lot cheaper than bottling lines and therefore make entry much more cost attractive. However, air pickups and shelf life are of major concern when you don’t spend your capital to do it right. If Founder enters into cans, we will only do with a line that will deliver equal quality as our bottling line does. We’ll see what the future brings… All Day IPA would be a great canned beer, thats for sure.

On Founders Rubaeus and Blushing Monk:

At this point no plans for 2013. Blushing Monk is a great beer, I would never say it won’t make an appearance again. Fruit beers are very costly for us as we refuse to use extract because of this we have a very hard time holding a reasonable price point in 4 pks. 750 ml make it much easier.

On one-off beers:

We’re kicking around some ideas that would allow us some flexibility in bottling some one off beers. No plans at this point however.

On the craft beer bubble:

(From Mike Stevens): My short answer is that we will see a bit of a bubble burst in the next five years or so. However, this industry is here to stay and the brewers that are focused to the art and passion of making great beer will have a place. Beyond that new breweries will need to focus on something narrow, don’t try and be like everyone else.

On the beer aftermarket (eBay):

I $%^&* hate it. We have a extremely regulated industry between the three tier system. Having individuals resell our beers we have no idea how the beers have been treated. I’ve even heard horror stories of people drinking our beers and replacing it with something else. Typically these folks are gouging. Never, never, never buy beer (from a non-licensed seller).

Founders Fest 2012 numbers:

~5500 attendees, 23,560 pints (translates to 93 barrels or more than some tiny microbreweries sell in an entire year)

Breweries:

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