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Boulevard Brewing founder to lead company, says 'mistakes' were made

Boulevard Brewing
Posted at 6:14 PM, Jan 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-28 19:20:08-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — John McDonald, the founder of Boulevard Brewing, had stepped away from day-to-day operations years ago after selling the company.

He remained on the company's board of directors as fellow Boulevard original Jeff Krum became the chief executive officer.

But now, McDonald is back in the top spot after Krum stepped down this week as the brewery admitted to mistakes in addressing claims of harassment. Two other high-level company officials also are no longer with the company in the wake of the harassment claims.

“You know, Jeff was a good friend of mine; we go back to the beginning,” McDonald told 41 Action News I-Team reporter Caitlin Knute on Thursday. “But sometimes, we make mistakes and we have to admit to them and move on.”

The mistakes became public this week after a former employee wrote a post on the social media site Reddit. In the post, the former employee said she left the company because of harassment that went ignored by top management.

41 Action News spoke to that poster — who remains anonymous due to the nature of the allegations — on Thursday after news of Krum’s departure was made public.

“If you have a friend in the industry who has a horror story, listen to them,” the woman said. “This is where the phrase ‘believe women’ really applies.

“Read their stories. Believe their stories. Support the individuals. Don’t brush them off.”

Beyond the claims made in the initial Reddit post, several women told 41 Action News they had experienced something similar and that their concerns went unaddressed by the company's human resources department.

With McDonald back at the helm, there’s a focus for Boulevard moving forward.

“You know, we are here today to try to fix all of that and give our employees a voice and repair the damage that’s been done,” McDonald said.

In addition to changes in the HR department, the company is hiring an independent third party to investigate current and past allegations.

On Wednesday, a group of Boulevard employees posted a follow-up on Reddit, which read, in part:

“Going forward, we, as a collective, will insist on and accept nothing less than maintaining a brewery culture where employees are heard, misconduct is not tolerated or brushed aside, and we return to operating in the best interest of all Boulevardians, not just those at the top of the food chain."