Rumors of a large layoff at Massachusetts’ Lord Hobo Brewing Company began circulating Thursday evening on social media.
Reality was much different.
Lord Hobo founder Daniel Lanigan told Brewbound that the company cut eight jobs across sales, marketing, production and taproom staff this week, which he classified as part of the “normal course of business.”
“This is not a layoff. It’s not because of a financial problem,” he said. “We’re up 13,000 barrels this year over last year. We’re having a crazy good year.”
The Woburn, Massachusetts-based craft brewery, Lanigan added, has added 40 jobs over the last 12 months, and is currently hiring six other positions.
“We’re on fire this year,” he said, noting that the company is on pace to sell around 50,000 barrels of beer by the end of 2019. “We’re crushing it right now. We just made some moves to the team.”
Lanigan also noted that Lord Hobo recently expanded its benefits package for employees, increasing paid time off, holiday pay, and paternity and maternity leave.
Beyond the six jobs the company is currently filling, Lanigan said the company will add hundreds more workers as it plans to open a pair of taprooms in the coming months.
Lord Hobo, which sold a minority ownership stake to private investment firm Valterra Partners in 2017, is in the process of finalizing a lease for a taproom in Boston’s Seaport neighborhood, which will employ around 100 additional workers, Lanigan said.
“That will be one of the largest restaurants in the city,” he said. “Eight hundred seats in the summertime and maybe the largest patio in the city of Boston with 400 seats.”
That project, he estimated, will cost around $8 million.
The company is also on the verge of signing a letter-of-intent for a satellite taproom in New York City.
Meanwhile, at Lord Hobo’s Woburn headquarters, the company is expanding its taproom space from 180 seats to 500, Lanigan said.
“We’re going to add a bunch more people for that,” he said.
Earlier this year, Lord Hobo announced a contest to give away a 1979 Pontiac Trans Am Firebird in a “text-to-win” contest to promote the launch of a new year-round beer, Freebird golden ale, in 18-packs. Langian told Brewbound that Freebird is currently outselling cases of flagship Boomsauce double IPA, which accounts for 40 percent of the Lord Hobo’s business.
Lanigan added that Lord Hobo’s 617 hazy IPA is now the second-best selling beer at Fenway Park, behind Bud Light. The brand is also the “official beer” of the recently opened Encore Boston Harbor casino in Everett, Massachusetts.
“Everything is just going amazingly well,” he said. “Terminating people is part of building a big company and growing fast and part of the business.”