GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Founders is Beer City USA’s largest brewery and during Pride Month has unveiled its newest line of merchandise — Brewed with Pride.
“The great thing about beer is that everyone loves beer. It doesn’t matter what color you are, what ethnicity you are, what sexuality you are, who you pray to, it is all about your experience,” said Dave Engbers, co-founder and president of Founders Brewing Company.
You don’t have to look to hard to notice Founders is a supporter of LGBTQ rights, the company proudly displays Pride and Transgender Pride flags outside its downtown Grand Rapids headquarters and brewery.
“So many of our folks here at the Founders family fall into that category that we want to embrace them,” Engbers said.
However, this Pride Month Founders decided to go further than just showing their support and they put their money and their merchandise where their mouth is.
“We launched the Brewed with Pride line. It’s very exciting, it’s very appropriate to launch it in the month of June for it being Pride Month,” said Diversity and Inclusion Director Graci Harkema.
One hundred percent of the money made from Brewed with Pride goes not to Founders but to Equality Michigan.
“(Equality Michigan) is actively doing work to expand Elliot-Larson to include non-discrimination for LGBTQ, expression gender identity and orientation,” Harkema said.
Earlier this month, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer along with lawmakers announced legislation that would amend Michigan’s civil rights law to provide protections for LGBTQ people. If passed, the legislation would protect people who identify as LGBTQ from being fired or denied housing, among other things.
“Part of our philosophy here at Founders is always been come as you are, leave your title at the door and everyone is treated equal,” Engbers said.
So far, the response has been great. Founders has even sold out of some of the shirts.
“It’s a great sign to sell out of it so then we can order more and continue to support the great work that Equality Michigan is doing,” Harkema said.
The merchandise can be purchased at their store at the brewery, online or this weekend at the 12 annual Founders Fest.
“Everyone loves it I think our team did a great job designing it and it’s just another way to show people we love everyone at Founders,” Engbers said.
Founders Fest will be Saturday from 3 p.m. until 11 p.m. outside of the brewery at 235 Grandville Avenue in Grand Rapids.
Tickets are $40 ahead of time or $45 at the door.
This year’s music lineup includes Gov’t Mule, Toots and the Maytals, Macy Gray, The War and Treaty, FBC All-Stars and Lady Ace Boogie
Founders will be pouring beer all day, including the popular Founders Fest Wheat, which is created each year for the event.
There will also be local artists there and food trucks.