It might go down as one of the smallest buyouts in craft beer history, but Idle Hands Craft Ales, a Boston-area nano-brewery, today announced it will purchase the intellectual property of nearby Enlightenment Ales.
Chris Tkach, the co-owner of Idle Hands, told Brewbound that a purchase price has yet to be determined, but the transaction will not include Enlightenment’s brewing assets. While production of Enlightenment beers will shift from Lowell, Mass. to Idle Hands’ facility in Everett, Mass., Tkach said Enlightenment’s line of Champagne-style beer will complement the Idle Hands portfolio of Belgian-style brews.
“We have no desire to do away with the Enlightenment brand, it’s a really good brand,” he said. “It’s all going to be labeled Enlightenment. It’s just going to be a sub-brand of Idle Hands.”
Tkach added that the only small change consumers might see is disclosure on Enlightenment labels, detailing that its beers were brewed at Idle Hands’ facility. Brewing and packaging of Enlightenment’s offerings will commence immediately, according to a press release.
As a result of the acquisition, Enlightenment owner Ben Howe will join Idle Hands as its head brewer, making him the company’s first full-time employee.
“As much as I love the freedom of being my own boss, I’ve found that the whole running-a-business thing gets in the way of what I really love: brewing beer and being creative,” Howe said in the press release.
Tkach, who called Howe “a fantastic brewer” and “incredibly creative,” said that he will step back from the brewing part of the business and begin to manage the day-to-day operations of both the Idle Hands and Enlightenment Ales brands.
“My goal is to kind of get out of the day to day operations of brewing and work on the business itself,” he said.
The full press release is below:
Everett, Mass. — Idle Hands Craft Ales LLC is excited to announce a business partnership with Lowell, Massachusetts based Enlightenment Ales Inc. The result of this collaboration will result in both the Idle Hands and Enlightenment brands continuing under the business license of Idle Hands Craft Ales, owned by Chris and Grace Tkach. Ben Howe, owner of Enlightenment, will join the Idle Hands team as Head Brewer and the company’s first full-time employee, joining two other part-time Idle Hands staffers.
The combination of these breweries under one business will benefit from Howe’s creativity and the Tkach’s business acumen. The distinct brands of Idle Hands and Enlightenment will complement one another with the former focusing on traditionalist Belgian and German style ales and the latter on its biere de champagne flagship and farmhouse artistry. While some economies of scale may be experienced from the combination of these breweries, the ultimate goal is for both Howe and Tkach to be able to focus on the work they each enjoy most, while continuing to grow two local brands with distinct followings.
Enlightenment’s collaboration with Idle Hands comes at a time when the craft brewing industry is flourishing. Likewise, both brands have seen tremendous growth since their origins, so the partnership will marry two thriving businesses.
“As much as I love the freedom of being my own boss, I’ve found that the whole running-a-business thing gets in the way of what I really love: brewing beer and being creative,” shares Ben Howe. Howe, a former Assistant Brewer from Cambridge Brewing Company, is a creative force, but admits that the reality of the business requirements behind running Enlightenment was more of a drain on his creativity than he realized. “By working together, Chris and I can both continue producing our own unique brands while playing to our strengths and focusing on what we find most enjoyable about the brewing industry.”
In contrast, Chris, an award-winning homebrewer before switching careers to his dream job, and his wife, Grace, both earned MBAs, so entrepreneurship is in their blood. “I always envisioned starting this brewery with the goal to build it to the point where I could hire a head brewer and turn my focus more on running and continuing to grow the business,” admits Chris Tkach.
Effective immediately, both Idle Hands and Enlightenment branded beers will be brewed, bottled and distributed out of the Idle Hands facility in Everett. Fans of both breweries can look forward to continued enjoyment of each brand’s product at the brewery, as well as at bars, restaurants and retailers within the Boston 95/128 corridor.
About Idle Hands Craft Ales LLC
Founded in 2010, Idle Hands Craft Ales LLC is a privately owned, craft brewery based in Everett, Massachusetts. We were one of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’s smallest commercial breweries for our first few years, producing only 1.5 barrels (or 46 gallons) of beer at a time. In August 2013, the brewery maintained its footprint in Everett but increased production capacity. The brewery has predominantly focused on Belgian inspired craft beers but recently expanded into other traditional German styles. Idle Hands beers are brewed, bottled and distributed all within the local Boston market. For more information about Idle Hands Craft Ales, visit www.idlehandscraftales.com.
About Enlightenment Ales Inc.
Enlightenment Ales is a Massachusetts based artisan craft brewery dedicated to producing unique and exciting beers for free thinkers. Brewer and Founder Ben Howe makes innovative “urban farmhouse” beers using traditional techniques usually found in Champagne production. This laborious process allows for the natural conditioning of our beers that which results in a fine carbonation and unique drinking experience. Enlightenment’s flagship, Brut, is one of the few bi├¿re de champagnes handcrafted, riddled and bottled in the local area. Additional information about Enlightenment can be found at enlightenmentales.wordpress.com.