Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy

Latest Episodes

Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Marketplace Morning Report
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Marketplace Morning Report
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Marketplace
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
This Is Uncomfortable
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Marketplace Morning Report
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Marketplace Morning Report

Trump's WTO KO

Dec 12, 2019
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Marketplace Morning Report
Download
HTML Embed
HTML EMBED
Click to Copy
Have a shopping story to tell? Let us know! Email us
Workplace Culture

New Belgium sale brings end to employee ownership for craft beer maker

Meghan McCarty Carino Nov 20, 2019
Share Now on:
HTML EMBED:
COPY
A customer takes a sip of a craft beer n Santa Rosa, California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

One of the biggest names in craft beer, Colorado’s New Belgium Brewing, said Tuesday it is selling the business to a subsidiary of Japanese beer maker Kirin. That brings to an end one of the most well-known examples of an employee-owned company in the United States.

The maker of Fat Tire ale switched to all-employee ownership in 2012 through an arrangement called an employee stock ownership plan, basically an employee-owned trust that holds the company’s stock. Only about 6,000 companies in the U.S. are owned by their employees in this way. And while the total number of companies like New Belgium has dipped slightly over the last decade or so, there are more workers in those employee-owned companies than about 10 years ago, according Loren Rodgers with the National Center for Employee Ownership.

“Employee-owned companies tend to be just more productive so they grow faster. They increase their own employment faster than the average business,” he said.

Research shows there’s less turnover, too. Sandra Reid is a 33-year employee at the Davey Tree Expert Co., which specializes in yard care and is one of the largest employee-owned companies in the country with about 11,000 employees.

“Employee ownership is definitely one of the reasons that keeps me with the Davey organization,” she said. “We work for ourselves and we work for each other.”

While entirely employee-owned companies like Davey or New Belgium are rare, almost half of private sector companies give workers some kind of stake in a business through stock options or profit sharing, according to Joseph Blasi, director of the Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing at Rutgers University. He said these kinds of plans can help reduce growing income inequality. 

“Having a chance to own some shares in your company or share in the profits, that’s a way for financial inclusion and fairness,” he said.

Better tax incentives to encourage selling to employees would help increase such arrangements, Blasi said. But all the benefits to productivity and retention can sometimes make these companies a victim of their own success: Employees want to cash out when business is good, and if they sell, that’s one less company owned by its workers. 

If you’re a member of your local public radio station, we thank you — because your support helps those stations keep programs like Marketplace on the air.  But for Marketplace to continue to grow, we need additional investment from those who care most about what we do: superfans like you.

Your donation — as little as $5 — helps us create more content that matters to you and your community, and to reach more people where they are – whether that’s radio, podcasts or online.

When you contribute directly to Marketplace, you become a partner in that mission: someone who understands that when we all get smarter, everybody wins.

Closing the sock market soon!

 

Time is running out to get BOTH new Marketplace Sock designs for only $5/month.

Don’t wait – this special offer ends soon!