Now on tap: A plan to brew more employee-owned companies

State House Democrats believe Colorado could be on the crest of a new wave in the business marketplace: employee-owned companies. While the concept has been around a long time — and occasionally has been put into practice — it seems to hold new allure amid the uncertainties of the rapidly changing, 21st century economy. It also draws inspiration from the likes of Fort Collins’s own New Belgium Brewing Co., a 100 percent-employee-owned dynamo in our state’s booming craft-brew trade. As of 2015, New Belgium was the fourth-largest craft brewery and eighth-largest overall brewery in the United States.

Which is why state Rep. James Coleman, D-Denver, wants to give employee ownership a boost. His House Bill 1214, which passed the House Business Affairs & Labor Committee Thursday on a party-line vote, directs the state Office of Economic Development and International Trade to promote employee ownership as part of its small business assistance center.

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