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Balcones Board Settles With Departing Founder Tate

December 5, 2014

Chip Tate, founder of Texas-based Balcones Distilling, has reportedly accepted a settlement from the company’s board that will see him leave the business. According to the Waco Tribune-Herald, Tate will be replaced as president of Balcones by COO Keith Bellinger, who will also retain the COO title.

Exact terms of the settlement weren’t disclosed, but Greg Allen, chairman of Oklahoma-based PE Investors, which prior to the settlement owned 58% of Balcones, told the newspaper that the distiller bought out Tate’s 27% interest in the company and removed him from its board. Tate, however, countered that he had not been “removed,” but rather resigned.

Tate and the Balcones board have been wrestling over control of the popular whiskey brand and business for months. In August, the board had suspended Tate for 90 days and obtained a temporary restraining order keeping him from any involvement with the company he founded in 2008. Then, last month, Judge Jim Meyer of Waco’s 170th State District Court said the board’s actions since ousting Tate in August were invalid and that he must be present at all company board meetings for any actions—such as funding for a $15 million expansion—to be authorized.

Under the settlement, Tate is barred from working in the distillery field until at least March 2016. He told the Tribune-Herald that he intends to stake out plans for a new distilling venture in the interim.

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