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Lithermans Builds a Brew Brand
Published Friday, January 20, 2017

Michael Hauptly-Pierce, left, and Steve Bradbury Jr., co-founders. Courtesy photo.

It started with two middle-aged white guys making hip-hop music in the basement. Admittedly, it’s worth writing about Lithermans Limited Brewing Company for that sentence alone.

But it’s not the only reason. Lithermans is one of more than 60 breweries that have sprung up in NH in recent years as part of the craft-brewing wave. While Lithermans may be small, founders and brewers Michael Hauptly-Pierce and Steve Bradbury Jr. have big dreams. “We want to be Concord’s brewery,” Hauptly-Pierce says.

For years, Hauptly-Pierce and Bradbury, in addition to being in sales, shared a love of hip hop and got together weekly to record music. Their conversations eventually turned to another shared interest: home brewing.

Eventually the instruments were put aside and brewing equipment filled the basement. In 2008, they began brewing IPAs, pale ales, stouts and other beers. Last year they moved to a 1,900-square-foot space tucked in the back of a business park with space for a tasting room and the high ceilings needed for brewing equipment.

The company offers flights of 4-ounce tasters, as well as 32- and 64-ounce growler fills. The tasting room and the beers are music themed, with stools that look like vinyl records and hip hop music filling the air on weekend nights.

Lithermans carries four to five core beers, called “A-sides,” and releases at least three brewery-only “B-sides” a month. Since opening, it has brewed 60 unique beers. “We try to have eight on tap,” Hauptly-Pierce says.

Bradbury says while it may appear the NH craft brewing landscape is too crowded, there is plenty of business to go around. “People want to buy local and want to buy beer made close to them, and that is where there is opportunity,” he says, adding it is not unusual to run out of certain ales on busy nights.

The name for Lithermans comes from an old English term for carrying too much, which seemed appropriate for two guys with day jobs trying to establish a brewery open only on weekends. They invested $100,000 into the business, including $9,000 raised from a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. “I’m working harder at 42 than I did at 25,” Hauptly-Pierce says. They hired an artist to create unique labels that stand out on the shelf.

Lithermans is seeing month-over-month sales increases. About 70 percent of revenue is generated from serving in the tasting room and the remaining through wholesale accounts. Lithermans has beer on tap at half a dozen locations including True Brew in Concord, New England’s Tap House Grille in Hooksett and Area 23 in Concord.

Lithermans produces three barrels, or 93 gallons, of beer weekly and expects to reach 450 barrels annually by 2019. Their business plan also calls for at least one of them to be employed full time by the business in the next three years. Neither currently draws a salary from the business, though there is positive cash flow. “If we could make more beer, we would sell more beer,” Bradbury says.

Among its popular beers is an imperial red (with a higher alcohol content), and the commemorative Raspberry Beret it introduced when Prince died that has become a favorite.

And the customers, like the hits, keep on coming. To learn more, visit lithermans.beer.

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