Founders Brewing Co. to donate profits from Detroit taproom to local charities for 3 years

Taproom reopening in 2020

DETROIT – Founders Brewing Co. announced changes and future plans Thursday after heavy backlash and fallout over a racial discrimination lawsuit.

The Grand Rapids-based brewery said it will reopen its Detroit taproom next year, but it didn’t specify a date. The taproom closed after a former employee filed the lawsuit against Founders.

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That lawsuit was settled last week.

Founders said all proceeds from the taproom through at least 2022 will be donated to Detroit charities. Those organizations haven’t been chosen yet.

“What we’re really striving to do here is to work with the community,” said Mike Stevens, Founders co-owner and CEO. “We want to work with fellow Detroiters. We want to work with the neighborhoods. We want to work with our staff and understand where we should deploy those funds so that we really engage with the community in a very serious way.”

The taproom will reopen under a new general manager. The company will also be hiring a permanent diversity and inclusion director, and a third-party company will conduct an audit of workplace dynamics.

“We wanted to be a part of the rebirth and regrowth of Detroit, and I think we didn’t do a great job,” said Dave Engbers, Founders co-owner and president. “People are questioning our brand and our motives and the integrity of the company.”

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