Pumphouse Brewery has been a gathering place for locals since 1996 when Craig Taylor, Tom Charles, Dave D’Epagnier and Dennis Coombs decided to turn the former garage and repair shop into a brewpub. In November, the Pumphouse was sold with the idea the employees would soon own the brewery.
Pumphouse Brewery was placed on the market to be sold when the owners decided it was time to retire.
Teamshares buys small businesses from retiring owners and converts them to employee-owned businesses.
The roughly 100 employees of Pumphouse Brewery currently own 10% of the business. Within 20 years, they will own 80%, according to Madhuri Kommareddi, chief customer officer of Teamshares.
The employee shares are granted to all employees who work for the company and they don’t have to buy into the company, Kommareddi said.
The profits Pumphouse makes are divided into two parts. The first part is short-term dividends which are given to the employees as a bonus check. The remainder “goes to increasing their ownership in Pumphouse,” Kommareddi said.
“As one of the earliest members of Colorado’s craft brewing scene and with more than a hundred employees, Pumphouse Brewery’s impact on Longmont can’t be overstated. Now that it’s become employee-owned, Pumphouse Brewery will be able to remain deeply embedded in the community for decades to come,” Kommareddi said.
To help employees convert ownership, Teamshares provided a strategic manager to help grow the company. Conrad Legendy serves in the role of president at Pumphouse Brewery. His job is to help with the day-to-day tasks when needed and also to grow the profitability of the company for the employees.
He said he relies on the experience of the previous Pumphouse staff — some of whom have spent nearly two decades in the business — to keep it true to its origin.
“I’m very actively trying to source input from the whole range of our employee-owners in order to make the best decisions for the company,” Legendy said.
When Pumphouse Brewery began in 1996, it was focused on serving quality food and developing prize-winning beer, Legendy said.
Recently the Pumphouse was the Colorado Overall State Fair winner for its beer entries.
“For me, one of the primary objectives here was just to sustain success and be a good steward of the legacy that the founding members left us,” Legendy said. “We are trying to invest more into the business to secure the future for them.”
Overall, Legendy said there have been only a few changes including installing updated games in the Red Zone and adding 14 new items to the menu.
“Employee ownership is a more sustainable way for us to keep the business alive,” Legendy said. “We are not trying to change, we are not trying to compromise what made the Pumphouse great. What we want to do is keep it great and keep on growing together with Longmont.”