Legal battle between Iowa brewers ferments into fundraiser

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- The legal battle between two Iowa brewers over a contract dispute has fermented into a fundraiser to pay for the defendants' legal fees.

Goliath claims Flenker broke a non-compete agreement when he started at Thew. Flenker had allegedly agreed not to work for a rival business within 150 miles of Decorah for two years after a departure. (KCRG-TV9)

Held at Need Pizza in Cedar Rapids, the effort was set to help Cedar Rapids-based Thew Brewing and its an employee, Chris Flenker.

"The legal fees can rack up so quickly," Robert Wagner said, a co-owner of Need. "We want to just help with that. They're such a new business-- to endure something like this, we just want to help them through it."

Thew, which opened earlier this year, and Flenker are facing an injunction filed in court two months ago from Toppling Goliath, a Decorah-based brewer that used to employ Flenker until 2017.

Goliath claims Flenker broke a non-compete agreement when he started at Thew. Flenker had allegedly agreed not to work for a rival business within 150 miles of Decorah for two years after a departure. Goliath is also claiming Thew nabbed trade secrets by employing Flenker.

A portion of Need's sales Thursday evening would be used to cover the defendants' legal costs. Turnout was pretty solid.

"When we saw this was happening-- we like this place anyway," Richard Ellis said while attending the event. "It was a no-brainer."

Thew declined to comment on the ongoing litigation, but owners said they appreciated the effort.

TV9 reached out to Toppling Goliath for comment on this story. The request wasn't immediately returned.