Founders Brewing Celebrates 15 Years with Commemorative Beer

Founders Bolt Cutter 15th AnniversaryA good friend of mine called me the other night. He’s a huge craft beer guy and he knows I write about beer for a living. He works on cars, and he works hard; usually 12-13 hours a day. He comes home every night exhausted from being on his feet, and he rewards himself with a nice meal and a beer (or two, or three) to match.

Anyway, when he called me the other night, he said "Dude. Founders Bolt Cutter: 15th Anniversary." I’m familiar with Founders because their beers became available in New York this summer, and we recently had their Breakfast Stout on tap in the break room – good stuff.

So my buddy’s always trying new beers, and he’s always calling me about them. The conversation usually starts out the same. After he tells me the name of the beer, I say "What’s special about this one?" He tells me he spent over $300 at Consumers Beverages on various other beers, and he asked about the Bolt Cutter 15th Anniversary. They had a few behind the counter, but they only allowed him to buy one.

The beer cost him $23 and apparently it’s a hot item, named one of the Top 25 Beers of 2012 by Draft Magazine, and flying off the shelves in the 23 states where their brews are available.

So I came into work the other day, and I typed "Founders Bolt Cutter 15th Anniversary" into Google. I thought the story about my friend and the one-bottle limit would be enough of a base for this article, and then I read about the reasoning behind it’s name.

Obviously it’s a commemoration beer, celebrating 15 years since Founders’ founding (I had to say that). But Bolt Cutter? I wanted to know what that meant, so I found this quote from Co-founder, President & CEO Mike Stevens: "Years ago, when our brewery was located on Monroe, we were defaulting on our loan. Eventually, the bank called and threatened to chain our doors shut if we didn’t come up with the half million dollars we owed them in 7 days."

Dave Engbers, co-founder and Vice President of Brand & Education bought a pair of bolt cutters. "We were determined to keep our doors open and keep brewing beer, no matter what it took." Although they never had to use the bolt cutters, Engbers still keeps them in his office as a reminder of how far they’ve come since November of 1997. Pretty cool story, huh?

Founders Bolt Cutter
(Chris Clark |

If you’re planning a beer run soon, you don’t have to spend $300 in one trip like my buddy did, but if you can cough up $23 for a bottle of Bolt Cutter, I don’t think you’ll regret it.

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