You know the story. A pioneering craft brewery achieves major success and decides it’s finally time to take the next step for the future. The founders sell a majority stake in the company to a multinational, enduring a chorus of boos from beer lovers, but receiving a huge infusion of cash.
So you might be surprised – even shocked – to hear what the founders of Odell have chosen to do. They’re giving up majority control of the brewery they opened back in 1989. But not to one of the big corporate brewers. No, they’re decided to turn things over to the folks who helped them build the place.
Family members Doug, Wynne, and Corkie Odell, have chosen to sell 19% of the company to their workers through an Employee Stock Option Plan, a majority of the company’s stock to the senior management team, and to hold on to a minority stake. Doug Odell explained the decision: “The craft beer industry is changing dramatically and we have seen several of our friends and neighbors selling their companies, in whole or part, to major brewers and private equity firms. While these options are more lucrative than the one we chose, we believe that the people who built OBC are the best ones to lead us successfully into the future.”
Now, I’m not going to criticize breweries that agree to be taken over by a big guy, but it sure is nice to see Odell making the choice they did. It’s a great brewery with a real commitment to its community and its employees. We had a ball shooting an episode there with Doug Odell and his crew. And it’s wonderful to see them embracing their success with a continuation of their core values. And, of course, their fabulous beers.
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC, its affiliates, or its employees.