Breaking news says that St. Louis’ Schlafly Brewing, a brewery near and dear to my heart, is selling a 60% stake to a local investment group. Co-founder Tom Schlafly will retain a 20% stake in the company, and his founding partner Dan Kopman will retain at least 10%. The remaining 10% will be made available for sale to Schlafly employees.
The story is still unfolding, bit this seems like the right way to cash out of a craft brewery. Here’s what Schlafly had to say about it:
“The agreement … meets the criteria we set back in June of 2010, when we first discussed a succession plan for ownership of the brewery,” Tom Schlafly said in a statement. “Senior and long-term employees will be able to purchase stock in the company, and I’m transferring a majority interest to local investors committed to keeping the business in St. Louis.”
If you noticed, I put “sells out” in quotes in the title above because this really isn’t selling out; as Schlafly puts it, this is succession planning for ownership in the brewery. No one owns a company forever, and on the surface it looks like Schlafly and Kopman have devised a way to keep ownership local and out of the hands of the big boys while managing to reward their loyal employees. That’s a pretty neat trick, and it should be an example to other breweries that you can raise revenue or sell your business to folks other than international brewing conglomerates.
Hopefully everything goes smoothly and, most importantly, they continue to brew awesome beer. Because that’s what matters most in the end, right?
You can read more here on Schlafly’s employee blog. It’s a piece written by Schlafly Communications Director (and all around swell guy) Troika Brodsky and has some links to the official press materials as well.
Thanks to our pal Zac for the tip on this one.