We are in an era of tremendous growth in the craft brewing industry — where outsiders with deep pockets are looking for any opportunity to jump in and invest. There are a lot of interesting moves being made as a result. But, there are also some cool moves being made the other way, too — eschewing the big money play and doubling down on the company culture already in place by going employee-owned (examples: New Belgium, Deschutes and Harpoon).
Odell Brewing is the latest craft brewery to make such a move, and co-founder Wynne Odell discussed the decision in a blog post on their site:
Now that we’ve achieved far more than our modest goals, we’ve been thinking over the last few years about when we should start pulling back from the brewery and what we would need to put in place to make that both possible and palatable. Maximizing our payout was not on the list: leaving the brewery financially stable was. Selling to a group that might sacrifice our beer quality to grow our sales as fast as possible was also not on the list; finding partners who would continue our thoughtful, sustainable growth trajectory was. The one attribute of our brewery that we ultimately realized was most important to our legacy was the powerful culture that had grown around us: it defines us.
So who better to hand the reins to than the people who helped build this vibrant culture? Our long-tenured managers and every co-worker have earned the right and opportunity to shepherd Odell Brewing into its next era. Together, they are exactly the partners we were looking for.
Pretty cool. Definitely head to the Odell blog to read the full sentiments.