Clown Shoes Brewing Joins Harpoon Family
Clown Shoes Brewing out of Ipswich, Massachusetts announced Monday it was joining the Harpoon family of brewers, which is owned by the Mass Bay Brewing Company.
On the Clown Shoes website, co-owner Gregg Berman lays out the details in a letter to fans:
“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.”
You can read Gregg’s full letter here. Below is the news release on Mass Bay Brewing Company’s acquisition:
Mass Bay Brewing Co. Acquires Clown Shoes Brewing
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, Massachusetts, 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 and 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.”
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The Clown Shoes Story
It all started when Gregg Berman, Founder and 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 are 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”
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.”
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 visit Harpoon’s website.