US-based craft brewery Barrio Brewing Company is set to transfer 100% ownership of its business to its employees.

From January, business ownership will be assumed by the employees of the craft brewery under an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).

Barrio’s soon-to-be brewmaster emeritus Dennis Arnold said: “Barrio Brewing started as, and will continue to be, a family affair as our employees are family and have put their hearts and souls into making Barrio what it is today.

“Nearly 30 years after our humble beginnings, the decision on our exit strategy was easy for both of us, either sell the business or simply give the business to those who’ve made it what it is, our employees, leaving them with their destinies in their own hands.”

Upon transaction completion, Arizona-based Barrio Brewing is set to become the first craft brewery in the US to turn business over to employees through an ESOP.

Barrio Brewing Company was established in 1991 by Dennis and Tauna Arnold as Gentle Ben’s Brewing Company. It produced Barrio Blonde beer, reported to be the oldest continually brewed beer in Arizona.

The company will be led by beer industry executive Jaime Dickman, who was recently appointed as Barrio’s chief operating officer.

Dickman said: “Helping to take the brewery to the next level alongside a spirited staff of 70 hard-working men and women is a great privilege for me, and I’m thrilled to be a part of this local, independent, native and, now, employee-owned family.”