Founders Brewing of Grand Rapids, Michigan, is reopening their Detroit taproom and donating 100% of its profits there for the next three years. The decision follows a controversial racial discrimination suit that forced the taproom to close after public backlash.
The announcement comes a week after the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based brewery settled a high-profile racial discrimination lawsuit in which Tracy Evans, a black former Founders employee, alleged he was fired after reporting discrimination to the company that included repeated use of the N-word and printers labeled “white guy printer” and “black guy printer.”
The discrimination suit didn’t gather much traction until a deposition became public that Evans’ former boss refused to answer whether he knew Evans was black, and that he didn’t know if Barack Obama, Michael Jordan, or former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick were black since he had never met them. The Detroit taproom closed on October 25. The suit was then settled in less than two weeks.
It was reported that Founders lost over 100 accounts nationally over the controversy. The employee who used the “N” word is on leave, and the employee who couldn’t discern race until meeting someone is also still employed by the company at a different location.
Founders did not name which organizations will benefit from its philanthropy, but estimated the value “at least $2 million in donations over the three years.”
“We want input from Detroiters and from staff before making any decisions on where funds will go,” the brewery said in a statement.