In 1998, Mike Stevens and Dave Engbers created Founders Brewery in Grand Rapids, Michigan. As with every small company, the original members must often wear a number of different hats when developing the company. This can be anything from accountant and master brewer to sales representative and even janitor, according to MLive, a local blog.
"Mike and Dave did absolutely everything," Dave Willis, a financial advisor in Grand Rapids as well as a long-running fan of the brewery since its inception, told the source. "They worked the bar, brewed the beer, did maintenance work and were always looking for volunteers."
In addition to Stevens and Engbers, Grey Christian was one of the breweries' original members and diehards of Founders Brewery.
Christian was also in charge of designing all the beer labels for both the year-round brews but also the seasonal ones that help jump sales for a few months out of the year. Many of Christian's designs are still used today, but most of them were vaulted during the the company's bankruptcy scare in 2001. But, the source was able to get a hold of them. Many of the custom labels featured other famous works of art, repurposed as the label for a particular type of brew.
For example, the Rubaeus ale, a recipe that was fermented with pure raspberries, features a background illustration of what looks like a Renaissance-era drawing of a raspberry leaf with the name printed above it and the company's logo at the top. Another example is the Kentucky Breakfast, which is a bourbon aged state, that has a label done up like an Old West wanted posted.
By designing these custom labels, Founders was not only able to gain attention locally, but also develop a cult following that allowed them to have the longevity they're experiencing today. By investing in a Primera LX900 color label printer, other breweries may able to do the same with their own beer labels.