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R&M Supports Craft Beer Brewing Solution

An overhead crane from R&M Materials Handling is helping one of America’s leading craft breweries with a custom beer-making process.


Created in 1997, Founders Brewing now ranks among the top 10 largest craft breweries in the USA. It is located in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan with an additional brewing facility and taproom in Detroit.

The company, which is famous for its complex, in-your-face ales, with huge aromatics and tons of flavor, wanted a lifting solution that would support its unique way of delivering hops into the brewing process. It turned to a local crane and lifting specialist, Wolverine Crane, for assistance.


Founders designed and commissioned the fabrication of its own vessel specifically for the task of dry hopping. This vessel holds around 1200 lbs of hop pellets that are tipped into beer. The company needed a crane that could easily lift and position the vessel, enabling Founders to dump the hops into the beer tank. The crane also needed the capacity to periodically move giant stainless-steel tanks to enable cleaning and other maintenance tasks, such as overhauls for the centrifuge and lifting items to upper-level storage.


Founders Brewing called on Grand Rapids-based Wolverine Crane for its lifting expertise. Wolverine specializes in the design, manufacture and installation of overhead bridge cranes and the runway structures to support them. Established in 1994, it provides 125 cranes per year to clients across North America and for export.

Wolverine supplied Founders with a 20-ton crane from R&M Materials Handling, Inc. This crane package included the Spacemaster® SX6 wire rope hoist and bogey trucks for ease of installation.

“It has a full-length foot walk on the bridge because it is so high up, the ceiling is 70 ft and the crane sits right at the top so you don’t want to be working off an aerial lift up there. You can stand on the platform to easily and safely access the control panel and all the electronics and wiring, for ease of service,” said Craig Maclean, Wolverine Crane.


The crane continues to provide Founders with a lifting solution for its preferred method of delivering hops during the brewing process.

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