Founders Brewing not leaving Chamber of Commerce; blames unauthorized social media post

Posted at 4:44 PM, Sep 28, 2018

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Founders Brewing is not leaving the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce after all.

The Grand Rapids brewery had seemingly announced on September 19 in a social media post that they were planning to leave the Chamber of Commerce due to the Chamber’s endorsement of Republican Bill Schuette for governor. The post made several news reports.

Friday afternoon, Founders announced in a press release that the social media post made on September 19 was made by an employee who was not authorized to speak on such a decision and was not company leadership.  The brewery says that they did not leave the Chamber and will not leave the Chamber.

“At Founders, we support and attract diverse, passionate employees with strong personal opinions,” said Mike Stevens, Founders co-founder and CEO in a press release. “While we celebrate diversity in everything that we are and everything we do, as a company we strive to stay focused on beer – and leave advocacy and politics to others. To the extent that the message was interpreted as an endorsement or opposition to a particular candidate, we want to be clear – Founders does not endorse any political candidates.”

Shortly after Founders’ announcement, Schuette issued a statement saying he was “honored” to have the Chamber of Commerce’s endorsement and that he looked forward “to working together with the chamber and Founders in the future.”

The Apartment Lounge had also announced they were leaving the Chamber of Commerce over the endorsement of Schuette. Other businesses also spoke up against the endorsement because of Schuette’s opinion in dissent to the Michigan Civil Rights Commission that civil rights protections should not extend to the LGBTQ community.

There is no word on who the employee who made the post was or if they were disciplined by the company.

The original Sept. 19 tweet is here: