GRAND RAPIDS, MI – The recent news about the upcoming sale of Founders Brewing Co. to a Spanish beer conglomerate in Congratulations to Grand Rapids and concerns that the founders' sale to Madrid-based Mahou San Miguel Group is likely boosting bridal tourism in the city and helping consolidate Grand Rapids' reputation as a Beer City USA.
"Most of all, I think this will change positively," said Doug Small, president and CEO of Experience GR, Kent County's convention and visitor marketing agency. They will not go anywhere. "
The founders announced on Thursday, August 29, that Mahou would acquire a 90 percent stake in the founders, previously holding 30 percent.
Small said He spoke with founder co-founder Dave Engbers after news of the sale became known and was reassured about the company's continued existence in the community.
"He made it very clear to me that the brand was strong That's why more people are learning about Founder Beer, and that's good for us. "
Chris Andrus, co-founder of The Mitten Brewing Co., does not believe that the sale will shake up the local brewing scene too much Because Founders has always been the largest brewery on the block.  He said Founders was the first choice for out-of-towers as tourists flock to and explore the many other breweries in the city.
"The great thing about Craft Beer is that we share all customers." Said Andrus. "They are loyal to the products, not to the company."
Founders, the 14th largest brewing company in the US in 2018, was founded in 1997 by Mike Stevens and Engbers. The most popular product is All Day IPA.
Officials of the founders declined to provide Stevens or Engbers for comments.
Andrus hopes that founders who sell to a foreign company will continue to invest in their employees and society and not send all profits to Europe. He was optimistic and said the company was deeply rooted in Grand Rapids.
"I think this move will only help make the beer better and get more people in the hands," he said.
When Mahou first acquired a 30 percent stake In Founders in 2014, Founders said the partnership would help the brewery tap the growing international market for craft beer.
Engbers said the agreement with Mahou will enable Founders to launch broader advertising campaigns and increase their market reach, Small said.  "In order to spread your brand worldwide, many pockets are full," Small said of his conversation with Engbers. With this deal, they believe that this company can do just that to create better, broader, stronger advertising campaigns. "
Scott Schultz, co-owner and brewing master of Creston Brewery, said that a larger national and international reach of foundry products could attract more attention if everything started there, where it started, and the other success there breweries operate.
"Maybe people in Japan will see Grand Rapids, Michigan on that can of beer and be intrigued enough to visit and see the whole beer scene, not just believing that this is the only thing that comes out of Grand Rapids "Schultz, who used to brew at Founders, said:
Craftsmanship and owner independence go hand in hand with many in the industry A board of directors may not always risk it.
"I'm afraid that they are a two-person brand company and lose sight of some of the more entertaining things they've done over the years because this is not the case Cost-effective," he said.
The founders stated in a statement that the company "will remain autonomous in managing its businesses, products and teams".
"We will continue to produce the beer we are known for a while to continue to innovate and experiment," the statement said.
Klein, Schultz and Andrus all said they expect the founders to receive some degree of brand pushback because they are obtained from a large conglomerate.
Andrus said that most people will probably forget and, if the quality is maintained, stay with the brand.
He referred to the sale of the Chicago-based Goose Island Brewery to Anheuser-Busch as evidence that brands can survive the pushback and regain any lost support by continuing to produce quality beer.
Andrus said Grand Rapids might not have done this If not for Founders, join Beer City USA.
"We started brewing in the garage in 2010, and founders were our favorite place," said Andrus. "Many places like the mitten would not be here without the founders … I'm not sure we would be here if the founders did not demonstrate the validity of the craft brewery to us all."
Small called Founders the "king" when it comes to making breweries in Grand Rapids, and that it gets recognition that the city's beer scene is as it is today.