Grand Rapids-based Founders Brewing Company
was recently awarded a $2 million Michigan Business Development Program grant by The Right Place
in collaboration with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and the City of Grand Rapids.
With this grant, Founders will be able to move forward on a $26 million expansion that is expected to generate 52 new jobs over the next three years.
On the surface, it might seem a bit incongruous for The Right Place and MEDC to support a business best known for beer brands like Dirty Bastard and a place to hoist a pint, but in fact, Founders has more in common with the manufacturing industry than the service industry.
The Right Place's Rick Chapla outlines the distinction. "Founders, like many craft brewers and food processors, uses practices like traditional manufacturing. Their preparation and crafting process is really second to none in terms of efficiency and commitment to quality. They are a world-class brewer of which several other mid-sized businesses will come to model."
Chapla also says that Founders defies the stereotype of service industry work being one of little pay. "[Another] difference to Founders," Chapla says, "is their commitment to workforce development. They offer opportunity for every single employee to pursue career advancement and skill enhancement. You can start on the floor, but can work towards to being a brewmaster. These are not low-skilled, low-paying jobs. It can be very technical to keep on top of quality."
To learn more about the progress of Founders expansion, you can visit their site here.
Source: Rick Chapla, The Right Place
Writer: John Rumery, Innovation and Jobs News Editor