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Local Bars and Restaurants Remove Founders Beers From Menus in Response to Backlash

Businesses are rushing to sever ties with the Michigan brewery

Employees in black shirts walk past the bar area at Founders in Detroit.
Founders Brewing Company in Detroit.
Michelle and Chris Gerard
Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

Bars and restaurants in Detroit are pulling Founders Brewing Company beers off the menu as public outcry grows over the brewery’s ongoing racial discrimination lawsuit.

Michigan’s largest brewery has faced increasing social media backlash since the publication of a report on Monday that included transcript from a deposition by Founders Brewing Company’s Detroit-based general manager Dominic Ryan. A black former employee Tracy Evans filed a lawsuit against Founders last fall alleging the company mishandled multiple racist incidents at the brewery’s Grand Rapids and Detroit locations. Evans claims that he was passed over for promotions despite being more experienced than other candidates and fired after filing a complaint with human resources. Founders argues that Evans wasn’t discriminated against and was fired for poor job performance.

Ryan, who allegedly took part in Evans’ firing, stated in the leaked deposition that he did not know if Evans was black and did not know the race of public figures such as Barack Obama and Michael Jordan.

Since the publication, several establishments including Standby and the Skip removed Founders products the menu, according to Crain’s. Marble Bar, UFO Factory, and Ollie in Ypsilanti have also abandoned the beer brand, Deadline Detroit reports. Ferndale Pride released a statement confirming that it will no longer accept financial support from Founders for its annual festival. Other businesses including Bobcat Bonnie’s and 8 Degrees Plato Detroit plan to sell their remaining stock and not order more.

Hey-- We are choosing to no longer carry Founders products until the current situation resolves itself in a positive...

Posted by 8 Degrees Plato Detroit on Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Meanwhile, Founders has gone silent on social media. The brewery pulled out of the Detroit Fall Beer Festival on Wednesday, after Eastern Market Brewing Co. announced it would boycott the festival. Eastern Market Brewing is currently reevaluating whether to participate in the festival now the Founders is out.

Founders Drops Out of Detroit Beer Festival Amid Racial Discrimination Lawsuit, Backlash [Crain’s]
Detroit Bars Stop Serving Founders In Wake Of Discrimination Controversy [Deadline Detroit]
Founders Brewing Will Skip Detroit’s Fall Beer Fest Amid Racial Discrimination Lawsuit [Freep]
Founders Manager Claims in Discrimination Lawsuit Deposition He Didn’t Know Employee He Fired Was Black [ED]
Former Founders Brewing Co. Employee Files Lawsuit Alleging Racial Discrimination [ED]
All Beer Coverage [ED]
All Lawsuits Coverage [ED]
All Founders Coverage [ED]

UFO Factory

2110 Trumbull, , MI 48216

The Skip

The Belt, , MI 48226 Visit Website

8 Degrees Plato Detroit

3409 Cass Avenue, , MI 48201 (313) 888-9972 Visit Website

Marble Bar

1501 Holden Street, , MI 48208 (313) 338-3674 Visit Website

Founders Brewing Company

456 Charlotte St., Detroit, MI Visit Website


225 Gratiot Avenue, , MI 48226 (313) 241-5719 Visit Website

Eastern Market Brewing Co

2515 Riopelle Street, , MI 48207 (313) 513-2200 Visit Website