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Craft-beer maker Schlafly up for sale

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By Adam Allington, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis, MO –
Local craft-beer maker Tom Schlafly has put the "for sale" sign out on the business he founded 21 years ago.

Schlafly says the sale isn't a move made out of necessity, rather he's just looking take a step back and hand a controlling stake over to another investor, preferably one made up of current employees.

Schlafly says James Ottolini, the head of brewery operations is in the process of trying to assemble a group of investors.

"With any offer that comes in, whether its local AB shareholders flush with cash or a larger craft-beer brand or a European beer company I would just say here's Otto's number, talk to him," said Schlafly.

Schlalfy says he's doesn't 'have a number in mind' for the value of the company but is willing to give special consideration to local investors over outside interests.

Last year the company sold a record 30,731 barrels of beer and so far sales in 2010 are up around eighteen percent.

James "Otto" Ottolini says growing the business will likely mean opening a new facility and taking on new debt which is a prospect he doesn't think Tom is very interested in shouldering on his own.

"I think he sees an opportunity now to say, OK, if we are going to grow this thing to the next stage and I don't want to be on the loan as the personal guarantor," says Ottolini, "we all have different risk appetites, right? "

Schlafly founded the brewery with Dan Kopman in 1989. Tom Schlafly says he'd like keep involved with the business as the face of the company.

Schlafly's brewery operations are currently at capacity, forcing the company to outsource any additional brewing operations to Stevens Point Brewery in Wisconsin.

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