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A Spanish Brewer Will Soon Own Founders Brewing Company

The company already owned a minority stake in the Grand Rapids-based brewery

A man walks up the path to Founders Brewing Company’s Detroit brew pub on a sunny afternoon.
Founders Brewing Company in Detroit.
Michelle and Chris Gerard

After several years of minority ownership, Spanish brewing company Mahou San Miguel is making things official and buying out Founders Brewing Company. The Grand Rapids-based brewery — the largest in the state — has filed paperwork with the Michigan Liquor Control Commission indicating that Mahou subsidiary Spain’s Best Beer Inc. will soon own a 90 percent stake in the company, MiBiz reports. Founders’ owners confirmed the deal.

Founders sold a minority 30 percent stake in the brewery to Mahou San Miguel back in 2015, with the goal of expanding into international distribution. The majority acquisition was a provision of the original deal struck in 2014, according to MiBiz. However, the terms have since been adjusted to allow Founders to buy out some of its minority owners. The Spanish company, founded in Madrid in 1890, also owns a majority stake in Avery Brewing Company in Boulder, Colorado.

Under the new ownership, Founders is looking to grow its brand awareness. The brewery also appears to be moving away from certain styles of beers. On Wednesday, the company announced that it would be releasing its Canadian Breakfast Stout (CBS) for one final time before discontinuing the label.

Founders is the 14th largest brewery by volume in the United States and has more than doubled its production since the initial investment by Mahou. The company has also branched out with a new brewpub in Detroit’s Cass Corridor neighborhood. Still, the Founders has faced criticism. Last fall, a black employee who spent time at both the Grand Rapids and Detroit locations filed a lawsuit for racial discrimination that included multiple allegations of racially charged incidents during his employment and leading up to his firing. Founders denied wrongdoing. The case is still pending.

The Founders deal with Mahou is expected to close in January 2020.

Spanish brewer Mahou to Acquire Founders Brewing [MiBiz]
Founder’s Brewing Seeks International Expansion, Sells Shares in Company [ED]
All Beer Coverage [ED]

Founders Brewing Company

456 Charlotte St., Detroit, MI Visit Website

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