Founders Brewing closing Detroit taproom indefinitely amid racial discrimination lawsuit

The Founders Brewing Co. Detroit taproom (Amber Ainsworth/WDIV)
The Founders Brewing Co. Detroit taproom (Amber Ainsworth/WDIV)

DETROIT – Founders Brewing, Michigan's largest craft beer brewery, is closing its Detroit taproom indefinitely amid fallout from a racial discrimination lawsuit.

The brewery posted the news to their Facebook page on Friday:

As has been reported in recent days, Founders has experienced some challenges at its Detroit taproom. We're dealing with those challenges, so that we can continue to serve beer lovers in Detroit. To accomplish that, we will be closing the location until further notice.

All of our Detroit employees will be paid during this time, including those who have said via social media that they plan to protest during this closure, to call attention to concerns.

We have committed to working closely with our employees to make any changes to the company that need to be made to ensure a positive future. Those conversations are underway.

Unfortunately, this temporary closure is affecting the debut of our popular CBS. The CBS bottle pickup and CBS tapping party won't be happening, as scheduled at the Detroit taproom. We greatly appreciate all of the enthusiasm for the introduction of this year's CBS. We will be issuing full refunds to all CBS bottle ticket holders as soon as possible. To be clear, the CBS bottle release will go on as planned at the Grand Rapids taproom.

We thank all of our customers for their understanding and appreciation of Founders.

Earlier this week, Local 4 reported: In a deposition, a Founders Brewing Co. manager claimed he didn't know an employee was black after the worker filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the Michigan brewery.

According to the suit, Tracy Evans worked at Founders from 2014 to 2018. The lawsuit alleges Evans, who is black, was fired shortly after telling a supervisor he was going to meet with human resources to discuss a racist work environment.

Co-workers used racial slurs around Evans and the company called its printer managers used the "white guy printer," while the general employee printer was named the "black guy printer" the lawsuit states.

When Evans' attorney, Jack Schulz, interviewed Founders General Manager Dominic Ryan, Ryan beat around questions about race and whether he knew Evans was black.

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