One of the biggest stories to come out of Michigan’s craft beer industry has nothing to do with beer at all.
Earlier this week, Founders Brewing Co. and its ongoing racial discrimination lawsuit filed by former employee in 2018 took the national stage when a leaked deposition from the case was published by local alternative weekly MetroTimes.
WDET staffers read the deposition where a Founder’s manager claims to have not known Evans is African American.
The deposition sparked a wave of online backlash for the Michigan-based brewer, which is the 14th largest brewery in the United States. Founders sold a 90% stake of its company to Mahou San Miguel Group earlier this year.
On Wednesday, Founders announced they wouldn’t be in attendance at the Fall Beer Fest this weekend. The fallout continued today when the company announced they would be closing their Detroit location indefinitely. You can read Founders full statement here.
“Going through an experience such as racism is nothing new to people of color.” – Tracy Evans, former Founders employee
Former Founders events and promotions manager Tracy Evans — an African-American male — filed the racial discrimination lawsuit last year, alleging that the company had a “racist internal corporate culture” and that the company fired him in retaliation for complaints to human resources.
“Going through an experience such as racism is nothing new to people of color,” Evans says. “We go through these things all the time. Sometimes things aren’t said right away.”
Founders has denied most of these allegations but did admit that in at least two instances employees used a racial epithet around Evans and that those employees weren’t not immediately fired.
Evans and his lawyer Jack Schulz appeared on CultureShift today to share their side of the story with the lawsuit still pending. Founders did not respond in time to multiple interview requests made by WDET in time to join this interview, but brewery owner Dave Engbers will speak with WDET’s Ryan Patrick Hooper on CultureShift on Monday, October 27th.