Founders Brewing Co.’s Detroit taproom is scheduled to open tomorrow three and a half months after it was closed and visitors are in for a number of large changes.
First, there will be a new taproom general manager: Emily Faulkner, who “has extensive experience in the Detroit hospitality industry” having most recently worked as operations manager for TopGolf in Auburn Hills as well as the general manager for TAP in the MGM Grand Detroit.
In addition, the owners of Founders will be contributing the income from the Detroit taproom to “local Detroit charities for the next three years”, according to a press release posted on the brewery’s website.
The changes to the Detroit taproom came as a direct result of a backlash stemming from a racial discrimination and retaliation lawsuit concerning the Detroit taproom’s former general manager. That lawsuit was filed in 2018 by Tracy Evans, a fired events and promotions manager, who alleges that Founders tolerated “a racist internal corporate culture” and that a number of employees used racial slurs in conversations.
“After three months of progress behind-the-scenes, now is the best time to honor our commitments in Detroit and reopen the Detroit taproom,” said Mike Stevens, co-founder and ceo of Founders. “While our intentions were good when we first launched the taproom in 2017, we need to make more efforts to connect in meaningful ways with the City of Detroit. We’re going to do this right and we look forward to sharing the journey with our fans, community partners and business partners.”
Founders has also agreed to partner with the City of Detroit and its Detroit At Work program in order to hire more qualified Detroit residents while also “collaborating to implement hiring practice that will make jobs more accessible to returning citizens and individuals with criminal records.” In order to reach that goal, the brewery will be implementing a hospitality training program for Detroit residents to help them “earn jobs in the hospitality industry and build successful careers”, with applicants who complete the three week training program given employment at the taproom.
Finally, Founders will be partnering with the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan in establishing a health and wellness program for the community aimed at preventing chronic illnesses that will be available at the Detroit taproom. According to the press release, the program will “provide weekly programming including free health trainings/screenings and nutrition and fitness classes for local residents, as well as employee wellness programs for Founders’ staff, with the taproom serving as a hub of activity.”
“We realize this goes beyond financial donations and we’re committed to becoming a more integral part of the Detroit community,” said Dave Engbers, co-founder and president of Founders, in the press release. “We’re not viewing the Detroit taproom as a profit center but instead as a hub for community engagement with the residents of the city. ”
According to Founders, the Detroit taproom will officially reopen at 11 a.m. on Feb. 6, and visitors will be able to enjoy a full taplist with “multiple new beer choices, an amended menu and a variety of Mothership Series” as well as “Brewed in Detroit” bottles available for purchase.