GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Founders Brewing Co. has created a special label for its Pale Ale in honor of the christening of the Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) aircraft carrier, named for the 38th President of the United States who grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
This special label Pale Ale will be served at a christening ceremony on Saturday, November 9, and at a private dinner the night prior. It will also be served on draft, along with commemorative postcards, at select locations in the Newport News area during the week of November 3.
The christening ceremony will be held on-site where the ship is being constructed, at Newport News Shipbuilding. President Gerald R. Ford’s daughter, Susan Ford Bales, will serve as the ship’s sponsor, performing the traditional honor of breaking a bottle of American sparkling wine across the ship’s bow during the ceremony.
The dry dock in which CVN 78 was structurally built was flooded, preparing the ship for launch in the days following her christening. The christening ceremony will be held in front of the ship’s bow.
Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) is the first of a new class of aircraft carriers, the first new design since USS Nimitz, which was launched in 1972. Redesigned from keel to mast, the ship will be able to launch aircraft more quickly while costing less to maintain, saving the Navy a projected $4 billion over the ship’s 50-year life span.
“When we got the call from the folks at Newport News Shipbuilding, asking us to make a special label for this event, it was one of those things that gives you goosebumps,” said Founders Co-Founder Dave Engbers. “Gerald R. Ford is a hugely important figure in the Grand Rapids community. We make beer. We aren’t in the business of running a nation—nothing near it. But we’ve done what we can to build our company on values exemplified by Ford, particularly integrity and authenticity. It’s such an honor to be involved in this christening.”
The christening will be streamed online at www.thefordclass.com for Grand Rapidians who want to watch from home.