Harpoon Brewery, the award winning Boston Massachusetts operation with a nearly three- decade long history, is about to make history in a different way.
Effective August 1, 2014, Harpoon Brewery will become an employee- owned business. Approximately 48 percent of Harpoon shares are going to be transferred to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), making it one of a growing number of breweries owned by the people who run the business each day.
“Employee ownership is the embodiment of what Harpoon stands for,” said 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.”
Dan Kenary and Rich Doyle co- founded Harpoon Brewery in 1986 and the company has grown tremendously since, with 187 full- time employees and sales that rank it 12th among craft breweries in the United States. Doyle and Kenary are not leaving Harpoon Brewery. They are only changing roles, with Doyle concentrating on marketing & sales and Kenary taking over the role from CEO from Doyle. Other management positions will remain intact.
“This is a big transition for the company and for me, but it feels like the right thing at the right time,” said Doyle. “I have enjoyed my twenty-eight years working here and building a first class brewing company from idea to reality. The ESOP will really fit the culture here since Harpoon has always been a very team-oriented place. Dan and the Harpoon team will continue to do an excellent job.”
With its transition to ESOP, Harpoon Brewery joins Oregon’s Full Sail Brewery, Colorado’s New Belgium Brewery, and countless others that have similar employee ownership. It’s a big move for a brewery or any business and it seems to have worked out well for Full Sail, which has been under an ESOP since 1999. Employee ownership better ensures that independence and company culture remain in place and this was a primary influence in the decision to move Harpoon in an employee- owned direction.
We at Great Beer Now wish Harpoon Brewery all the best and to its employees, we say, welcome to the world of business ownership. You’ve earned it!