In a time when craft breweries are looking to outside investment management companies or larger, mega-breweries to fuel growth, Modern Times Beer is turning inward as it preps for imminent expansion, which includes projects in downtown Los Angeles and Anaheim that are slated to open later this year. The brewery, which debuted its Point Loma flagship in 2013 and launched its North Park tasting room in 2014, announced today that it will be transitioning to an employee-owned company, making it the first brewery in California to be structured this way.
Through the repurchase of shares from its outside investors, Modern Times is currently thirty percent employee-owned, but the brewery is working with Ambrose Advisors on an employee stock ownership plan with the goal of becoming completely employee-owned as soon as it’s financially feasible. Majority owner Jacob McKean told Eater that he felt this move was the right thing to do for Modern Times’ 116 employees, saying that it will strengthen their collaborative and creative culture, help attract top quality new talent and put a sustainable ownership structure in place that will help assure the independence of the company.
Calling it “the single proudest achievement as Founder & CEO of Modern Times” in a release, McKean also shared, “My hope is that this will point the way forward for other businesses in our industry and beyond. Our trajectory shows that a company can grow at a meteoric rate while handsomely rewarding all of the people who made that growth possible; in fact, we show that it is necessary. Our values and culture are competitive advantages that have propelled us to where we are today. Modern Times is proof that a start-up brewery can compete and win in the craft beer market without selling out, all the while taking outstanding care of our employees and rewarding our investors." Expect to see even more new developments from the brewery and roastery; McKean says that they are in the early planning stages of enlarging the footprint of the existing brewery and tasting room at Modern Times Beer’s flagship Lomaland Fermentorium in Point Loma.