Before Selling Her Craft Beer Business to a Beverage Giant, She Sold It to Employees

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By Graham Winfrey , Senior editor, Inc.@GrahamWinfrey Kim Jordan, co-founder of New Belgium Brewing.  Matt Nager Editor's note: The story of New Belgium Brewing's sale is part of a series on Inc. 5000 companies making a big exit. The other articles in the series describe the exit strategies of two other companies: Home Chef and Nutanix . Humble Beginnings: Jordan co-founded New Belgium Brewing in 1991 with her then-husband, Jeff Lebesch, who ran a homebrew operation out of their Fort Collins, Colorado, kitchen. A Business Role Model: New Belgium, an Inc. 5000 honoree in 2010 (No. 3,482) and 2013 (No. 4,804), began sharing equity with staff in 1996; it became 100 percent employee-owned in 2012 and a certified B Corp in 2013. Cheers: Lion Little World Beverages, a subsidiary of Japanese beverage giant Kirin, acquired New Belgium in 2019 for an more...