Michigan’s Founders Brewing sells to Spanish company

Photo: Scott Olson (Getty Images)

In 2014, Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Founders Brewing sold a 30% stake in the company to Spanish brewery Mahou-San Miguel Group. That didn’t garner much attention outside the brewing world. Today’s news, though, is making waves: MiBiz reports Founders’ two cofounders have sold 90% of the company to Mahou-San Miguel Group, each retaining just a 5% stake. Founders has confirmed the deal to The Takeout.

Founders is the country’s 14th-largest craft brewery by volume (larger than Stone, Deschutes, or Brooklyn Brewery, for context). Dave Engbers and Mike Stevens founded the brewery in 1997, and it’s since expanded to distribute beer to all 50 states. It’s known for its session IPA, All Day, as well as its Breakfast Stout, Rubaeus raspberry ale, and Dirty Bastard Scotch ale. As Founders grew, it needed capital, which Mahou-San Miguel provided in 2014 to the tune of about $96 million. Now, Stevens tells MiBiz the additional cash will allow Founders to pay back some of its early minority investors, “including family members of various executives, local business people and other investors.”

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In an official statement provided to The Takeout, the brewery says daily operations at the brewery and taproom will remain unchanged.

“Founders will remain autonomous in managing its business, products and teams,” the statement says. “Engbers and Stevens will continue to be shareholders in Founders and have no intention of leaving.”

Mahou-San Miguel also owns a majority of Avery Brewing of Boulder, Colorado, but Founders says there’s no plans to roll the companies together. The company also notes the sale is subject to regulatory approvals.

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Kate Bernot

Kate Bernot is managing editor at The Takeout and a certified beer judge.