PRESS RELEASE / October 17, 2023 (Vermont) – To celebrate Employee Ownership Month, local Vermont employee-owned breweries (ESOPs) Switchback Brewing Company, Harpoon Brewery, and Long Trail Brewing Co. collaborated on a limited-edition draft only beer: ESOP ESB.
ESB is an Extra Special Bitter English Style Pale Ale. It is a hoppy dark amber ale brewed with a traditional dark malt profile and new American hops.
“We met back in early August to discuss making a beer that was sessionable and approachable,” said Switchback brewer Morgan Capron. “We wanted to capture the feeling of Vermont in fall with the elements of brewing that make our ESOP breweries great.”
With this collaboratively designed recipe in hand, each brewery put a unique spin on the brew by using proprietary ingredients – so while there are minor differences in the brews, the result is a piney, medium bodied ESB that is super drinkable and refreshing.
In February 2017, at Switchback Brewing Company’s annual meeting, owner and Brewmaster, Bill Cherry, announced to the brewery’s 30 employees that they had become partners in ownership of the 14-year-old company. They are the first 100% employee-owned brewery in New England.
“We were thrilled to be able to make this collaboration happen with a fellow employee-owned brewery,” said Harpoon brewer Dan Lipke. “Being employee owned is something we are very proud of, so this is the perfect beer to celebrate all of the hard work that goes into employee ownership.”
Mass. Bay Brewing Company – parent company to Harpoon Brewery and as of 2022, Long Trail Brewing Company – established their Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) in 2014. CEO Dan Kenary gathered the company together for a special meeting in the Harpoon Beer Hall in Boston, where he asked everyone in the room to turn to the person next to them and shake their hand and congratulate each other for now being the owners of the Harpoon Brewery.
ESOP ESB is available exclusively on tap at Switchback Brewing Company in Burlington, VT, Harpoon Brewery Taproom & Beer Garden in Windsor, VT, and the Long Trail Brewery in Bridgewater Corners, VT while supplies last.
Switchback Brewing Company was founded in 2002 by Master Brewer, Bill Cherry. To maximize complexity and flavor, the beer is left unfiltered and carbonated during fermentation by the yeast itself, creating a 100% naturally conditioned beer. In 2017, Switchback Brewing Co. officially became the first 100% employee-owned brewery in New England via an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), keeping the brewery locally owned and operated at its original home in Burlington, VT. Switchback beers are distributed throughout Vermont, New England plus parts of New York and Virginia.
The Harpoon Brewery was founded in 1986 by beer lovers who wanted more and better beer options. When the Brewery was founded, Harpoon was issued Brewing Permit #001 by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, since it was the first to brew commercially in Boston after a dormant period of about 25 years. Since then, it has expanded to a second brewery in Windsor, VT. Harpoon’s line of craft beer features its award-winning IPA and seasonal beers, along with special limited releases. In 2014, Harpoon became an employee-owned company.