Brewery reopens Detroit taproom after lawsuit settlement

DETROIT — A brewery reopened a Detroit taproom months after settling a racial discrimination lawsuit by a black former employee.

Founders Brewing Co. began serving drinks and food again to customers at the taproom just north of downtown on Thursday.

Tracy Evans was fired as an events and promotions manager. He later accused the company in a 2018 lawsuit of tolerating a “racist internal corporate culture,” and said he was called the N-word.

Founders was criticized after a taproom general manager refused to say in a deposition that Evans is black.

The settlement was announced in October. Terms were not disclosed.

The taproom also closed in late October, and the company's diversity and inclusion officer resigned. Some retailers and venues stopped selling Founders products.

“We're just looking at getting better,” co-founder Dave Engbers told the Detroit Free Press. “The beer we brew today is great, but the beer we brew a year from now is going to be better. The way we manage is strong. I think we're going to be stronger in the future.”

The Grand Rapids-based company has hired a consultant to put together a plan focused on inclusion to get employee input and create focus groups and diversity committees.

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