The craft brewing industry can seem like (and often is) a fun subculture filled with like-minded, laidback pals who collaborate, swap stories and slug a few cold ones, but it does contain small businesses with real issues to consider.
The Wisconsin State Journal reports on one such example, in which a brewery’s minority shareholders, led by its former brewmaster, allege an abuse of power by the brewery’s majority owners. In the lawsuit, Capital Brewery‘s former brewmaster Kirby Nelson claims that he and the other minority shareholders were ignored when it came to important decisions, such as deciding on a purchase offer from Nelsons’s current brewing partner.
The 12-page suit, filed Tuesday in Dane County Circuit Court, names Capital Brewery president Scott Weiner, company director Richard King and the brewery itself as defendants. It alleges misconduct by Weiner and King — the majority shareholders who until recently made up the entirety of the company’s board — including allegedly ignoring minority owners’ input, violating company bylaws and wasting company assets.
The suit also claims Weiner and King have been running Capital Brewery for their “personal gain” at the expense of minority owners’ interests, and that they have “imminent plans to move the brewery out of Middleton” through a “multi-million ground-breaking allegedly to occur any day” — an apparent reference to Capital Brewery’s announced expansion plans in Sauk City.
Be sure to head to the Wisconsin State Journal for the full story.