New Belgium (USA)
100% Employee owned brewer of fine Belgian inspired ales
Back in 2013 the employees of New Belgium Brewing were called to an all-hands meeting, where Kim Jordan, the company’s cofounder and then CEO, took the stage to deliver big news. She told her employees she had just sold the company, a revelation that produced gasps. To whom? She asked the employees to open the envelopes that had been left on their chairs. Inside they found a mirror, which was Jordan’s way of announcing that she had sold the company to them.
Today New Belgium is owned entirely by its employees through a stock-ownership plan and is widely recognized as a case study in progressive management. It is a certified B Corporation and gets high marks for sustainability: Its Fort Collins brewery produces 18% of its electricity on-site, and the company wins lots of awards for its culture. New Belgium has also been generous in its contributions to bicycle- and eco-focused organizations. Jordan, a former social worker who founded the business with her now ex-husband in 1991, says she saw the company, which grew out of her basement, as a learning lab where she could experiment with sharing equity, collaborating with other craft brewers and using profits to promote learning about the environment. But to do that, Jordan understood that the company would first have to do well financially.