Scotland business

Glasgow brewery West in employee ownership 'first'

West Brewery staff Image copyright West
Image caption Staff who have been at West for 12 consecutive months will benefit from a share incentive plan

An independent Scottish beer maker has moved to become the first employee-owned brewery in the UK.

Glasgow-based West has set up a share incentive plan (SIP), and placed an initial 10% of the company's shares into a dedicated trust for employees.

Staff who have been at West for 12 consecutive months - regardless of hours worked - will get £3,600 worth of shares every year.

That is the maximum annual amount that employees can receive tax-free.

Sixty-five of its 100-plus staff are currently eligible for shares, which will be held in trust for several years until they can be accessed.

Image copyright West

There are more than 350 employee-owned businesses in the UK, 100 of which are based in Scotland.

'Team effort'

Brewery founder Petra Wetzel said: "West is now worth many millions and I've always considered this business to be a team effort rather than me acting as some kind of benevolent dictator.

"I'm 44 years old and, rather than selling up to retire and sit on a beach for the rest of my days, I want to share what we've achieved over the last 13 years with the people who have helped make it possible."

West has launched more than 30 draught beers in the last 13 years. It currently produces about 2.5 million litres of beer per year.

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