San Diego-based Modern Times, which also has a hip new Los Angeles location, is one of our favorite breweries in the country for its quality, inventiveness and general coolness. With this news, we love it even more: Modern Times is now employee-owned.
Through the repurchase of shares held by outside investors, 30 percent of Modern Times is now held in an employee stock ownership plan. At only four years old, Modern Times has become the first brewery in the state of California to become employee-owned.
“This is my single proudest achievement as founder and CEO of Modern Times,” said majority owner Jacob McKean. “I’m supremely excited for our deserving employees, who have shown an almost perverse degree of dedication over the last four years. Now, they will benefit directly from the company’s success as co-owners. This is as it should be. Making Modern Times an employee-owned company gives me a sense of satisfaction that is somewhere beyond joy.”
Employee ownership is a logical extension of the company’s existing values and culture. Modern Times fosters a highly collaborative work environment that prioritizes the well-being of its employees, continuous innovation, the exceptional quality of its beer and coffee and an unwavering commitment to business ethics.
“My hope is that this will point the way forward for other businesses in our industry and beyond,” said McKean. “Our trajectory shows that a company can grow at a meteoric rate while handsomely rewarding all of the people who made that growth possible; in fact, we show that it is necessary. Our values and culture are competitive advantages that have propelled us to where we are today. Modern Times is proof that a startup brewery can compete and win in the craft beer market without selling out, all the while taking outstanding care of our employees and rewarding our investors.”
With several ambitious projects on the horizon, including bastions of leisure and sundry weirdness in downtown Los Angeles and Anaheim, the move to employee ownership is also intended to help attract and retain talent. As the company opens new breweries, restaurants and cafes, Modern Times will be both promoting existing employees and hiring new talent to staff the rapidly growing business.
“We already have very high employee retention, but becoming an employee-owned company will only make it more rewarding for talented people to build their careers here,” said McKean. “And I’m extremely excited to see the kinds of people we can attract with this equity program.”
Employee ownership is just the latest in a long list of stellar benefits offered by the company. Modern Times provides high-quality health care, very competitive salaries, unlimited paid time-off, a two-month paid sabbatical after five years and a guaranteed take-home minimum wage of $15 per hour, along with loads of free beer and coffee. While the company is 30 percent employee-owned today, it is the goal of Modern Times to work towards 100 percent employee ownership.
The Modern Times ESOP (employee stock ownership plan) transaction was made possible by the talented team at Ambrose Advisors, who facilitated the deal structure, valuation and lender selection. Neil Brozen of Ventura ESOP Fiduciary Services has been retained as the Trustee and will oversee the ESOP in an independent role.