Liquidity options are plentiful for owners of craft breweries: strategic sale, private equity, management buyout, family transfer, leveraged recapitalization. Which path should you take? Harpoon, New Belgium, Odell, Left Hand and many others walked a different path. These breweries chose to implement an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). ESOPs can be a great exit strategy for craft brewers. Outlined below are the top five reasons why craft brewers should consider an ESOP.
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The combination of low interest rates, explosive growth, and a surplus of buyer capital has led to a transformative time in the craft beverage alcohol industry, particularly in craft beer. As transaction advisors to the beverage alcohol industry, we’ve worked on numerous transactions over the last several years. This experience has afforded us the opportunity to understand the investment rationale of buyers as they evaluate entering, or growing, in the beverage alcohol industry. While there are many factors that are considered when making an investment in a beverage company, one common thread in all transactions is the strength of the brand.
Recently, some of the biggest headlines in the craft beer industry haven’t been about the beer; they have been about the mergers and acquisitions of the brewers of the beer. With the increased frequency of craft brewery transactions, owners should be thinking about what the future holds for their business (and what could be their most valuable asset). That future may include a transition to a family member, selling only a part of the business in order to fund growth or to allow owners to take some chips off the table or, in the right circumstances, to sell the entire business. Even if you have no immediate plans or desire to sell or transition your business, these tips will help you position your business so that you can take advantage of opportunities and respond to challenges that cause you to rethink your plans.
In an effort to continue providing our audience with valuable insight in areas like finance, investment, branding, marketing, sales, and distribution, we’re excited to introduce “Brewbound Voices,” an avenue for experts to contribute their knowledge to our readership. Kicking off the initiative is Mike McCann, the chairman of Kansas-City-based law firm Spencer Fane’s corporate practice group.