The rumors are true. Grand Rapids-based Founders Brewing Co. today confirmed its plans to expand to a second taproom in Detroit’s Cass Corridor neighborhood. The Michigan craft beer titan is taking over the former Cass Corridor Food Co-op at 456 Charlotte St. near the Masonic Temple.
The 14,000-square-foot building was built in 1937. Founders plans to build-out a tasting room in the space with “a couple dozen taps,” a patio area, and a brewhouse where the company will craft uniquely Detroit beers. Although the design is still in the early planning stages, the owners say that patrons can expect the new location to take some cues from the original in Grand Rapids. The West Michigan taproom offers food including an extensive list of sandwiches and the Detroit location will also have a menu, though its still not clear what exactly it will look like.
Co-owner Dave Engbers says that moving to Detroit was a natural fit for the fast-expanding craft brewery. “This is our backyard,” he said at a press conference, tall boy in hand. “We sell a hell of a lot of beer down here.”
Midtown Detroit Inc. and Invest Detroit are helping finance the project, though Sue Mosey said at the press conference that Founders was still in the process of organizing funding for the buildout. Construction is expected to begin this summer with an anticipated winter 2017 opening. The brewery plans to hire around 100 Detroiters.
Founders will be far from alone in Cass Corridor’s beer scene. Nearby Jolly Pumpkin, Motor City Brewing Company, and Traffic Jam & Snug have all set down roots in the neighborhood.
The new taproom is part of an even larger group of developments that have invested in the area in anticipation of the Little Caesar’s Arena opening and the broader Ilitch family project known as the District Detroit. Mosey stated that the long-overdue Detroit Shipping Co. food hall may finally break ground next month. Jim Brady’s Detroit is expected to open a location in the former Chung’s Restaurant building this year, and a new hostel featuring an as-of-yet unnamed restaurant will debut on Second Avenue in early 2018. A meaty new restaurant from North Peak Brewing Company and Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales co-owner Jon Carlson is also said to be in the works. Stay tuned.
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