Odell Brewing chooses employee ownership

Doug, Wynne and Corkie Odell are selling Odell Brewing Company, the Colorado brewery they started in 1989, to their employees.

They announced Monday that they have sold 19 percent to a newly-formed employee stock option plan (ESOP), in which all 115 workers participate. A majority of the company’s stock has been sold to the Odells’ executive team, including Eric Smith, director of sales and marketing; Brendan McGivney, chief operating officer; and Chris Banks, chief financial officer. The Odells will retain 10 percent each as a family legacy.

Wynne Odell will continue as chief executive officer, Corkie Odell will remain head of human resources and Doug Odell will continue as founder, a title he’s held for about five years.

Odell is one of a growing number of breweries, including neighbors New Belgium Brewing and Left Hand Brewing, that have started ESOPs.

“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,” Doug Odell for a press release announcing the plan. “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.”