Daniel Lanigan, CEO, Lord Hobo Brewing Company | Talks at Google

[MUSIC PLAYING] DANIEL LANIGAN: So my name is Daniel Lanigan I am the CEO and founder of Lord Hobo Brewing Company, as well as a half dozen other craft beer bars over the last 15 years

I'm titling this talk today Lord Hobo Brewing Company and the fairytale towards the first billion dollars, OK? I'm going to tell you a little bit about my background Then we're going to dive into the brewery itself and get into a little bit of our culture and why we're the fastest growing brewery in the United States, I think I have some ideas why we are I'm open to other interpretations So briefly, I could speak about beer and the state of craft beer and the nuances of it and flavor profiles and the bubble bursting and hops, and everything else that's happening in the industry

I've been doing this for my whole adult life I could talk about this for days We don't have that time So I'm going to try to slam through a few stories and core principles, and then give you guys some time to talk, answer some questions But there's a lot to cover, and 15 years of my experience and trying to summarize that in 27 minutes or less

So very quickly, 15 years ago, I opened up a craft beer bar at a college town at UMass Amherst I was 26, and I knew that I didn't have any skills or a college degree or rich parents or anything, so I had to figure out a way to develop some long-term income And I didn't want to be a bartender in my 70s No offense to 70-year-old bartenders, but I just wanted to have a way to retire And so I wanted to open up my own place

I wanted to be my own boss And so I raised up a few bucks from friends and family, sold off all my poetry books, literally, and I cobbled together enough money to buy a crappy dive bar on the outskirts of a college town And I was determined to make it into a craft beer bar And in 2002, there wasn't a lot of those There wasn't a craft beer bar around Amherst for 100 miles

You had to come all the way to Boston And even back then it was Redbones and Sunset A couple of other stalwarts A place in Albany called Maharas, which is now gone So at the time, everyone thought I was crazy, because if you know at UMass Amherst, it's a pitcher and shot for a dollar kind of town

Every bar caters to college students And there was really nobody there, fortunately for me, catering to adults and grad students And UMass Amherst area has a ton of those people So we opened up with $5 pints of 9% IPA and beers no one had ever heard of before And fortunately for me, we got crushed

Day 1, place was packed, and day 2, place was packed, and kept going like that And we became sort of an oasis for people And I think I probably could have sold Rumple Minze and Jagermeister, and we still would have been packed It's just we were catered to an older audience, a more sophisticated audience, and there was just nobody else doing that We just happened to sell a lot of craft beer, and that really worked for us

So I was 26 I was making more money than I would ever think I would ever make in my life, and I decided to open another place And that was sort of a trend I did where sort of a serial entrepreneur at heart, and I like to think that I make good decisions And I say to people all the time, like, the best deals you ever do are the ones you say no to But I still did some dumb deals

And so I opened up a place Northampton, big restaurant, and I went from, like, working 25 hours a week, making tons of money, to working 80 hours a week and making just 10% more money And so it wasn't a very good idea And I did that for a few years, and then sold them both I wanted to go back to Boston and play with the big boys and have the craft beer bar in Boston At the time, the Public House was getting started, Deep Ellum was getting started

And I had a lot of reverence for those places and I thought well in 2006 we won Best Beer Bar in the country, But we were in the middle of nowhere So I sold them all, came to Boston, determined to open up a place, and that's where we opened up Lord Hobo And Lord Hobo turned eight years old this week on Monday So eight years in the restaurant business, long time, so it's pretty cool to have that kind of legacy And we actually feel like we're part of the old part of Cambridge, because I feel like since I started talking a few minutes ago, there's probably been two restaurants opening in Cambridge

So to be able to last that long and to create sort of a legacy has been really important and fortunate and even lucky So from there, I opened up a place in Baltimore called Alewife, a place in Queens called Alewife I'm part of a couple other bars in New York City that are all craft beer-focused I have invested in a bar in Brussels called Moeder Lambic It's probably the most important– arguably the most important beer bar in all of Europe

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