The downside to working for an employee-owned company is that workers can still be let go and lose the company shares they worked so hard to make profitable.

New Belgium Brewing Company just laid off 25 workers at their Fort Collins headquarters, plus a half-dozen other workers in the last three months.

It’s not because the company is losing money, beer officials say. Sales continues to climb and it’s the eighth largest of all beer breweries in the U.S.

It’s not a downsize, they say, it’s a “right size.”

Here are the production numbers:
2013 saw 792,000 barrels
2014 saw 945,000 barrels
2015 numbers aren’t available, which coincidently is when a Colorado boycott started.
2016 saw 958,000
2017 saw 955,000

There were numerous excuses for the layoffs given — the company’s political meddling, embrace of all things anti-fracking and anti-coal, and discriminatory hiring practices were not mentioned.

The market is over-saturated with craft beer, that’s the problem, says the company that is the fourth largest just among craft breweries.

They planned for a 40 percent increase in production in 2013 and production did grow, just not by as much as they wanted, so four percent of the workforce had to be cut to even things out, they say.

Workers cut include some on the production side, administration, finance, IT, and human resources. Their company shares will be bought back from the employees and “recycled” into the employee stock ownership program so someone else can make more money.

Bosses had to think of the employees, the ones not sharing in the expected higher profit.

“We took a very clinical look at our business functions across all departments,” New Belgium spokesman Bryan Simpson told Brewbound. “As an employee-owned business, it is the executive team’s responsibility to look out and make sure that their (employees) share value is being protected.”

Even in employee-owned companies, it appears some employees are more equal than others.

Sounds like plain old greed to us.