Good Switch for Switchback

Vermont District Office  - Oct. 2, 2019

u s small business administration
Switchback  brewery bottle line

Good Switch for Switchback

In February 2017, the two owners and co-founders of one of the most popular breweries in Vermont sold their business. It was significant news throughout Vermont because the brewery was not sold to an out-of-state entrepreneur or “Big Beer,” but to the employees.

Bill Cherry and Jeff Neiblum sold 100 percent of Switchback Brewing Co. to the Switchback employees through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan. 

An ESOP is a business structure where employees purchase a company’s stock, which is held in an account for each individual employee. When an employee leaves or retires, they receive the stock and have the option to sell it on the open market or back to the company.

“Switchback is a Vermont beer and it was important to us that the brewery remain part of Vermont,” said Cherry. “The ESOP was a good option for our succession plan.  It allows us to stay involved in the business without the outside pressures that can arise from venture capital or a total buyout.  It also helps to maintain the brewery’s culture as is, and we get to keep working at the place we love. The ESOP option begins to cash us out while we are younger and can enjoy the fruits of our success.”

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Pain Points of Running a Business

Join a panel of business owners as they share their stories and discuss The Pain Points of Running a Business at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 8 at Keller Williams in South Burlington.

Panel members include:

Event is free. To register, visit here.