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Employees set to take over this beloved Victoria brewery

The move will see all full-time employees of three years or more eligible to buy shares
Victoria’s Phillips Brewing and Malting Co. is shifting to an employee ownership model after 21 years under the sole ownership of founder Matt Phillips. (Courtesy Phillips Brewing and Malting Co./Facebook)

Phillips Brewing and Malting Co. is set to get a new owner after 21 years in business – or rather owners – as founder and current owner Matt Phillips transitions the company to a new business model.

The company announced Thursday (Jan. 5) it is transitioning toward an employee-owned company, supported by an investment from B.C.-based Yellow Point Partners. Under the model, all full-time employees who have been with the company for at least three years will be able to purchase a share and become an owner.

“I founded the brewery 21 years ago, and it is a very different brewery from what it was when it began,” said Phillips. “Through those years, staff have taken on more and more responsibilities and roles here, and as they take on more of the responsibilities and I take on fewer, it just made sense that our ownership model be adjusted to give them the ups and downs of ownership to tie in to their other responsibilities.”

READ MORE: Three Greater Victoria breweries win medals at national craft brewery competition

Phillips said the new ownership model aligns with everyone’s interests in the company, and from his perspective will give everyone involved a greater stake in the company, both literally and metaphorically.

He said the change won’t have any impact on the company’s ability to create the great stating and innovative beer they have become known for, and if anything should increase the culture of teamwork and a shared vision even more than it is today.

Phillips said he is unable to speak specifically to how much ownership he plans to retain and how much buy-in will cost for employees, but he said he has no plans to retire from the company any time soon and will remain active in it.

“It’s been a lot of positive reaction as you would imagine, there is a lot of excitement here right now,” he said. “I think we are going to see almost everybody who is eligible interested in becoming a part of it. And as time marches on and more and more people reach that threshold of three years, I think that enthusiasm for becoming an owner will only grow.”

Since launching in 2001, the company has expanded into the soda business and malting business – one of the few companies in Canada operating in that space.

READ MORE: Victoria beer makers brew up charitable flavours


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Justin Samanski-Langille

About the Author: Justin Samanski-Langille

I moved coast-to-coast to discover and share the stories of the West Shore, joining Black Press in 2021 after four years as a reporter in New Brunswick.
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