Upon winning a bid for The Pumphouse Brewery just a year ago, Conrad Legendy knew there were colossal shoes to fill. Longmont’s foremost sports bar, opened in the spring of 1995 at 6th and Main Street, helped spur the craft beer revolution on the backs of co-founders Craig Taylor, Dennis Coombs, Dave D’Epagnier, Tom Charles and Ross Hagen. They pumped out award-winning beers before it was commonplace in Colorado, while serving generous portions in a family-friendly environment. Knowing all this, Legendy — who was named president of Pumphouse Brewery by Teamshares, a company that converts small businesses into employee-owned operations — got right to work.
“The day the transaction closed, Teamshares granted 10% of the company’s shares to Pumphouse’s loyal employees at no extra cost,” Legendy says. “Over the next 20 years, through the growth of the business, the company will become 80% employee owned.”
What’s changing about the establishment itself? “Not a lot,” says Legendy. The Pumphouse has maintained a high standard for service and quality of beer and food. The main change, according to the bar’s new president, comes down to ownership structure.
“Every employee is now an employee-owner,” Legendy says. He sees it as a simple equation: When you’re earning a direct share of the profits, succeeding becomes vital. Over the past several months, Legendy says he has seen more involvement from employees.
“‘Blonde, James Blonde’ was a blonde ale name proposed by one of our servers, and ‘La Sombra’ Mexican dark lager was proposed by one of our cooks,” Legendy says. They’re even designing new drinks: The night the Nuggets took home the NBA Championship, the Pumphouse’s top-selling drink was a special invented by one of the bartenders.
As president of The Pumphouse, Legendy says he is accountable to the employee owners as his shareholders. They have access to detailed financial information, plus benefits like a 401(k) retirement plan with a 4% match, along with health and dental coverage. And since the staff got a stake in the business free of charge, they can cash dividend checks as profits are shared.
The Pumphouse Brewery turned 27 last month, and Legendy is hopeful about what the coming years have in store for this Longmont icon. “Like any successful 27-year-old,” Legendy says, “we feel very optimistic about the future.”
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story mischaracterized Conrad Legendy as the president of Teamshares. Boulder Weekly regrets the error.