On July 23, 2014

Harpoon Brewery transitioning to employee ownership

By Morgan True

Harpoon Brewery recently announced that it would become an employee-owned company starting in August.

The Boston-based craft brew maker was founded in 1986 and now has 187 full-time employees, with 26 at its brewing facility in Windsor, making it the 12th-largest craft beer maker in the U.S., according to a news release. The existing shareholder group transferred 48 percent of Harpoon’s shares to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), which qualifying employees can choose to buy into.

“Employee ownership is the embodiment of what Harpoon stands for,” says Harpoon co-founder Dan Kenary. “Our success as an independent craft brewer is attributed to our outstanding employees and the wonderful culture we have at the brewery. The ESOP strengthens our commitment to our employees, our culture, and to making and sharing great beer.”

An employee stock ownership plan is the most common form of employee ownership for U.S. companies, according to the nonprofit National Center for Employee Ownership. There are currently 7,000 companies offering ESOPs to 13.5 million workers in the U.S., according to figures from the group.

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