Weiland's Market, Columbus Ale Trail and others have severed ties with Actual Brewing.
Fred Lee, the founder of Columbus craft brewery Actual Brewing, stepped down this week as the company’s CEO amid multiple allegations of sexual assault and harassment. Columbus Alive broke the story here, detailing interviews with eight women who allege sexual assault or harassment by Lee.
In a Facebook post late Wednesday night, Actual’s acting CEO, Nicole Felter, stated that Lee “no longer has any role with the company, and we have begun the process of removing him from his minority ownership position.” In the statement, Felter also pledged that the brewery would “work tirelessly to create an inclusive environment that ensures the safety of every one of our patrons and co-workers.”
Since the story broke Wednesday afternoon, multiple local businesses have pulled their support of Actual Brewing. Weiland’s Market, for example, announced on Facebook Thursday that it would sell its remaining Actual beer stock at current retail pricing (state minimum) and donate the proceeds to the YWCA Columbus. In addition, the longtime Clintonville market would make a $1,000 donation to the YWCA.
Reached by phone Thursday afternoon, Weiland’s Market co-owner Jennifer Williams explained her decision to take action. Williams says Julia Sivertson, who was featured in the Alive article, worked for Weiland’s at the time of the incident with Lee. “She didn’t tell me about it,” Williams says. “I wish I would have known. The article was the first time I’d heard about it. I hate that she went through it. I hate that everybody had to go through it. I hate that it went on so long. I have zero tolerance for behavior of this nature. … I just feel like we needed to make more of a tangible gesture. ... I feel like as a female business owner, it’s my responsibility to use that position to have an opinion and take a stand on things that I feel like are important for women and the community at large.”
Here is a roundup of other statements from Central Oho businesses:
Hills Market Downtown, which has kept Actual Brewing beer off the market’s shelves for years, posted the below statement.
Yesterday, Columbus Ale Trail announced on Twitter that it has removed Actual as a participating brewery.
It is our responsibility to hold our partners accountable and we will not tolerate sexual harassment or assault. We support and stand behind the brave women who came forward. (2/2)— Cbus Ale Trail (@CbusAleTrail) February 6, 2019
Bob’s Bar in Clintonville also offered a statement of support to the alleged victims.
House Wine, a retail shop in Worthington and Bexley that carries craft beer and wine, announced that it was removing Actual beers from its shelves.
Finally, Dayton-based The Barrel House announced yesterday that the shop would donate $5 to YWCA Dayton for every Actual beer collected at its shop.