Founders to reopen Detroit taproom, donate profits through 2022

Posted at 11:57 AM, Nov 07, 2019
and last updated 2020-02-04 12:01:48-05

DETROIT — Founders Brewing Co. announced Thursday it plans to reopen its Detroit taproom in early 2020.

The company shut its Detroit location down in October during a racial discrimination lawsuit filed by a former employee. That suit was dismissed on Halloween after a settlement was reached between Founders and the former employee, Tracy Evans.

Terms of the settlement weren’t released.

When the Detroit taproom reopens, Founders will donate 100% of its profits there to charities and community organizations until at least 2022. In a statement, the company says it is reestablishing and building relationships with local nonprofits.

“We feel we opened Detroit for the right reasons, but we recognize there’s room to do things better,” said Mike Stevens, co-founder and CEO of Founders. “When we reopen our doors to beer lovers in Detroit, we promise an environment that will be positive for our customers, employees and the community as a whole.”

The company faced public backlash and criticism as the details of the lawsuit were released. Founders pulled out of a Detroit beer festival and had several bars and restaurants stop serving its products as a result.

In what the company describes as a commitment to accelerating diversity and inclusion efforts, it has hired a consulting group and named an interim director of diversity, equity and inclusion.

“We understand that financial impact is not enough. We’ve committed, companywide to accelerating our diversity and inclusion efforts. That will not wait until the reopening in Detroit,” said Dave Engbers, co-founder and president.

Founders’ previous director of diversity and inclusion resigned during the lawsuit, saying their leaders’ actions “have explicitly shown you are more interested in the optics of my face, than the impact of my voice.”

A new general manager will also be hired for the Detroit location.