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Union Craft Brewing Is Offering Ownership Stakes To Workers

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Union Craft Brewing has started offering the employees who brew, can and serve the beer a stake in the Medfield company.

Last month, the brewery offered shares to six workers, and going forward, full- and part-time employees who reach their five-year anniversary will automatically be given a stake in the company.

"There is no buy in or cost to them," Union co-founder Adam Benesch told WJZ in an email. "This plan allows us to ensure that a majority of Union's ownership will be in the hands of the people that work at the brewery."

In a post on the brewery's site, the co-owners said they had been mulling the idea for some time and decided to accelerate the program after seeing the hardships many employees went through during the pandemic.

"We have truly listened to our staff and heard their ideas on how to improve their work environment," the co-owners wrote. "Hearing from them, we realized that the traditional models of employment must be challenged and that now was the time to offer our dedicated workers a more equitable employment model."

Co-founder Jon Zerivitz said in a news release that the acquisition of shares from a previous owner allowed the brewery to quickly move forward with the initiative, known as the Beer Unites Employee Ownership Program.

Jenna Dutton, the brewery's marketing and design manager and one of the first employee-owners, said the program will "ensure that employees from every department share in a collective vision for the continued success of the company."

Founded in 2011, Union is now the anchor tenant in the Union Collective complex off W. 41st Street, which opened in 2018. Baltimore Spirits Company, The Charmery, Vent Coffee Roasters, Earth Treks and Wine Collective also have spaces there.

The brewery offers 18 drafts, rotating cask ales and cellar reserve beers.

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