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Modern Times Beer Sells Out: To Its Employees

Bucking craft beer’s corporate buy-out trend, Modern Times becomes an employee owned company

Modern Times Beer made a big splash on the craft beer scene when it launched in 2013. Located in San Francisco and founded by a former Stone Brewing Co. employee, the brewery’s first year was highlighted by a successful Kickstarter campaign to help fund its lab, tasting room and barrel program. Since those modest beginnings, Modern Times has become known for its sleek branding, including its stark but striking can designs, as well as a growing portfolio of sought after, highly acclaimed beers. Those choice pick-ups include Fortunate Islands, a wheat beer, Blazing World, an amber and Black House, an oatmeal stout.

Now, Modern Times is making headlines again. Against a landscape of seemingly daily announcements of large beer brands buying small craft brewing startups, Modern Times has chosen to go a different direction. Instead of selling out to a larger company like Anheuser-Busch InBev, Heineken, or Constellation Brands, Modern Times is selling itself to its staff. They are now a 30% employee-owned company, with a goal of becoming 100% employee-owned.

According to the Modern Times, this move fits into a culture that encourages collaboration and innovation from its workforce. Providing ownership is an incentive to maintain a high standard of work and retain valued employees.

In a blog post, majority owner Jacob McKean said “My hope is that this will point the way forward for other businesses in our industry and beyond.” In addition to the employee stock ownership plan, Modern Times also offers a slew of interesting benefits like unlimited paid time-off and the option to earn a two-month paid sabbatical after five years with the company. Like most breweries, the perk of taking home free beer is a given.

Modern Times Beer’s offerings can be found throughout California and on the island of Maui. For more information visit

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Lee Heidel
Lee Heidel is the managing editor of Brew/Drink/Run, a website and podcast that promotes brewing your own beer, consuming the…
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