Mass Bay Brewing (Harpoon) to Acquire Clown Shoes Beer

Mass Bay Brewing (Harpoon) to Acquire Clown Shoes BeerAn interesting new acquisition involving Clown Shoes is breaking:

BOSTON, MA  (October 30, 2017)The Mass Bay Brewing Company, brewers of Harpoon and UFO beers, announced today its acquisition of Clown Shoes Brewing. Clown Shoes, launched in 2009 in Ipswich, MA , is a nationally distributed brand that produces a wide selection of year-round and limited release beers. Clown Shoes has experienced significant success with its Space Cake Double IPA and Clementine White Ale, among other innovative beers.

“The Clown Shoes team shares our passion for brewing excellent beer & their irreverent, boldly-flavored takes on classics have earned them a loyal following,” said Dan Kenary, Mass Bay Brewing Company CEO and Co-Founder. “We see tremendous potential for growth both regionally and nationally and are excited to work with Gregg and his team to take Clown Shoes even further.”

The Clown Shoes Story

It all started when Gregg Berman, Founder & CEO of the brand, brewed a small batch of "Hoppy Feet" Black IPA with Ipswich Ale Brewing, also located in Massachusetts. The offering was well received around Boston, prompting Berman to collaborate with Head Brewer Dan Lipke to develop and trial additional beers, with innovative takes on existing styles – such as Clown Shoes’ Josh the Guava King, a Double IPA brewed with guava puree. Clown Shoes more than doubled its production from 700 barrels to 1,500 in its second year.  In 2011, they began distribution out of state, carefully selecting craft-oriented wholesalers.  In 2017, Clown Shoes is on pace to produce over 13,000 barrels of beer.  The brand is currently sold in 28 states and 5 countries.

“Harpoon and Clown Shoes & both fiercely loyal to our brands, to independent craft brewing, and to our employees,” commented Clown Shoes’ Berman. “I’ve been a fan of Harpoon for a long time and it’s very gratifying for me that our team will get to work alongside the expert brewers at Mass Bay Brewing to grow Clown Shoes and get our beer into the hands of more beer drinkers”

Employee Ownership

In 2014, Mass Bay Brewing Company became an employee-owned company through the establishment of an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan). The Clown Shoes team joining Mass Bay Brewing Company will have the opportunity to become employee owners through the Mass Bay Brewing Company ESOP, as well.

“The craft industry has changed a lot since we opened our doors in ’86,” Kenary noted. “The Clown Shoes team has an approach to brewing and selling great beer that is very different than ours, but their belief in independent brewing dovetails perfectly with the stake we have planted around employee ownership. We plan to have a lot of fun and success working together, enjoying a few beers along the way.”image

About Clown Shoes Beer:

Clown Shoes Beer began as a single beer project. Somewhat miraculously, that project snowballed into a craft beer brand. Since then, which was late in 2009, Clown Shoes has released over one hundred different beers, with sales in 28 states and several countries outside of the US.  The year-round lineup has been refined to include 12 oz. cans, 16 oz. cans, and 22 oz. bottles, each packaged with signature, intense graphic artwork. Creating a unique, "state-specific" beer program, Clown Shoes has brewed dozens of small batch variations that are exclusively available in specific states (such as Massachusetts, Texas, and Ohio). Clown Shoes also creates an extensive array of barrel-aged beers, experimenting with high-end barrels ranging from port and tequila to Cognac, rum and bourbon. The Clown Shoes team constantly push themselves to improve and to test the boundaries of craft beer.

About the Harpoon Brewery:

The Harpoon Brewery was founded in 1986 by beer lovers who wanted more and better beer options. When the Brewery was founded, Harpoon was issued Brewing Permit #001 by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, since it was the first to brew commercially in Boston after a dormant period of about 25 years. Harpoon’s line of craft beer features its award winning IPA and UFO beers, along with special seasonal selections. In 2000 Harpoon purchased a second brewery in Windsor, VT, making Harpoon the 19th largest craft brewer in the US.  Harpoon has since introduced the limited batch 100 Barrel Series and the as well as the all-natural Harpoon Craft Cider made from freshly pressed apples.

In 2012 Harpoon was the recipient of the Green Business Award from the City of Boston. Harpoon has been recognized by the Boston Globe as one of Massachusetts’ Best Places to Work. In 2016 Harpoon was named one of the Top Charitable Contributors in Massachusetts by the Boston Business Journal. In August 2014 Harpoon became an employee-owned company.

For more information about Harpoon visit www.harpoonbrewery.com. 

And this from Clown Shoes’ Gregg Berman

Clown Shoes is Acquired by Harpoon?!

What the hell?  Really? Sellouts! They’re going to be “Harpoonized!”

Ok, everybody, please take a breath.

Yes, Clown Shoes has been acquired by Harpoon.  No, we are not going to lose our identity and no, we are not “selling out”.  Harpoon is an independent, employee owned craft brewery.  All Clown Shoes Employees are moving over to Harpoon.  All of us will become employee owners. For this partnership to work, everyone needs for us to continue to be Clown Shoes.  We will still produce innovative, high quality beers with signature graphic marketing.  We will, in fact, create small batch, state specific, and barrel aged beers at an accelerated rate in 2018.

In terms of being Harpoonized?  The flavor profiles of our beers, our branding, and our distribution strategies are different.  But, beyond that, those of us who work at Clown Shoes are Harpoon at heart in so many ways.  Most of us grew up in Massachusetts.  We are all homeowners here, spreading from Beverly, Lowell, Cambridge, Somerville, Ashland, and Plymouth to Northampton.  We root for the same sports teams, shovel snow from the same storms, walk the same beaches during the few decent days of summer, and we drive again and again over the same streets, bridges and highways.  Most importantly, at Harpoon and at Clown Shoes, we are workers and we are fighters.  We work crazy hours. We fight with all of our energy and creativity for the brand, for the craft beer industry as a whole, and to make beer that we and our customers love.

I and the Clown Shoes Team are genuinely honored and excited to get down to business with our new coworkers. Our strengths complement each other.

Harpoonized? Sure, if we get to be part of an independent, employee owned company, sign us up! But we are still going to be Clown Shoes and Harpoon is still going to be Harpoon.  Now we get to have fun playing in the same sandbox for years to come.

Lastly, to all of the Clown Shoes supporters, we love you for helping us reach this important moment in our growth and in our history. Please stay tuned!

With Warm Regards,

Gregg Berman

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