Press Clips: Harpoon Plans For 100 Percent Employee Ownership

Harpoon Aims to Sell Remaining 52 Percent of Company to ESOP

Since transferring 48 percent of its shares into an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) in July of last year, Harpoon Brewery has been minority owned by its employees. Now, according to co-founder and president Dan Kenary, the plan is for the brewing company to become fully employee-owned. During a recent speech in Vermont, where the Boston-based brewery operates a second facility, Kenary outlined the plan: “The long term goal is in five to seven years when we’ve paid down the debt from this transaction, we’ll sell the remaining 52 percent of the company to the employees and become a 100 percent employee-owned company,” he said during the Vermont Employee Ownership Center’s annual meeting. “I want to help others see the clear benefits of our system and share in its many rewards. Employee ownership is a wonderful way to do this.”

Florida Retail Federation Withdraws Tasting Room Challenge

The Florida Retail Federation has withdrawn its challenge of the legal loophole that allows brewers in the state to operate tasting rooms now that state regulators have agreed to take a closer look at the issue. “It is an affirmative step towards clarifying how this statute is being applied,” the group said in a statement obtained by In its now withdrawn challenge, which was backed by other retail and wholesale advocacy networks, the group had asked regulators to assess whether a tourism exemption in state law should grant brewers retail privileges, advantages the structure currently affords. As Brewbound recently reported, brewers fear such examination could result in both existing and future tasting rooms being shut down. An Indiegogo campaign launched by the Florida Brewers Guild has raised nearly $50,000 for the expected legal battle since launching last week.

The Alchemist: “How We Brought Our Employee Turnover Rate to (Nearly) Zero”

Jennifer Kimmich, co-owner of Vermont’s The Alchemist, brewers of the renowned double IPA known as Heady Topper, penned an op-ed for the U.S. Department of Labor’s blog last week, in which she advocated for paid sick leave for all of the state’s workers. While the post served as a political endorsement more than anything else, she did credit her own company’s policy with nearly eliminating employee turnover:

“Our employee turnover is relatively non-existent and our hiring and training line in the budget is $0. We attribute this to the stability we offer our employees, which, in large part, comes from the fact that our employees can count on a full paycheck each and every week of the year without having to worry about losing wages if they or their children get sick.”

Having a permanent supply of the world’s most sought-after double IPA probably doesn’t hurt either.

BrewDog Potentially Eyeing U.S. Expansion

BrewDog, Scotland’s preeminent beer rabble-rousers, could be in the market for a plot of land stateside on which to build a production facility, tasting room, and restaurant, according to the Morning Advertiser. Though the news was first reported earlier this month by overseas media outlets, it picked up steam in the U.S. last week when Stone Brewing issued a post on its Facebook page stating that BrewDog is potentially looking for an American home. In the post, Stone called on BrewDog to look at Columbus, Ohio, and Norfolk, Va., two finalist cities in Stone’s own search for an East Coast facility. Since Stone ultimately chose Richmond, Va., Greg Koch, Stone CEO and co-founder, offered to act as intermediary between the European brewery and the two cities, should they be interested. “Of course, we’ll make direct introductions between James Watt at BrewDog and the government officials of your two fine cities,” he wrote.

A-B Unveils Super Bowl Ads

Anheuser-Busch is betting big on the precious vulnerability of a lost puppy this weekend, as one of its three Super Bowl spots will follow a displaced and forlorn dog in its quest to find its way back home without being viciously torn apart by wolves. Will the lost pup make it? Watch to find out.

The spot is one of two Budweiser ads that will air during the Super Bowl this Sunday, both done by the same creative agency, Anomaly. The beer giant will also air a 60-second ad for Bud Light dubbed “Coin,” which plays on the company’s “Up For Whatever” campaign.