Oh, good. Finally an article that mentions the HEART ATTACK we all collectively had as Bill told us the new owners would treat us right. https://t.co/szUPSIJF5A
— Switchback Brewing (@SwitchbackBeer) February 10, 2017
I’m heading to Vermont the weekend of Feb. 18 to take my girlfriend’s nephew skiing. But in the back of my mind (and now on public record), I’m half thinking of skipping Okemo and heading north, straight to Burlington, Vermont, up by Lake Champlain, to visit Switchback Brewing Co. It’s one of Vermont’s top selling breweries, situated in Vermont’s most populous city (a college town that is the smallest most populous city for a state in America), where (I assume) Switchback crafts delightfully chill, northeastern-tinged craft beer. This brewery cemented its cool status with me last week when the company went employee-owned. Pints up, guys and gals, from one employee-owned company to another.
Last Monday morning at Switchback Brewing’s annual meeting, Owner and Brewmaster Bill Cherry announced to the brewery’s 30 employees that they had become partners in ownership of the 14-year-old company. Does it get any cooler? From the company website:
Cherry, who will remain as Brewmaster and President, said about the transition, “I wanted Switchback to be Vermont-owned forever. Entrusting the brewery to the employees ensures the company will carry on with its mission to provide great beer and great jobs to the local community. It’s theirs to grow and nurture and reap the benefits. It is the right thing to do and I hope all Vermonters show their support by keeping Switchback beers on their go-to list.”
Switchback officially became the first 100-percent, employee-owned brewery in Vermont via the awesome Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). Currently, Switchback beers are distributed across New England and New York. According to this article on WCAX.com, Switchback has expanded into a 28,000-square-foot facility and now produces 900,000 gallons of beer a year. From the article:
“I am a plant engineer,” Gretchen Langfeldt said. “And now owner. Still weird saying that.”
Langfeldt is one of those employees. She’s worked at Switchback for 12 years doing things like testing technology which identifies bad caps and labels on bottles. The 34-year-old is toasting her new role in the company.
“It’s fun to say we’re all part if it now together,” Langfeldt said.
Pretty darn cool. Cheer’s to Cherry and Cofounder Jeff Neiblum.