All Hopped Up

With his vast space in Woburn, Lord Hobo’s Daniel Lanigan plans to take on the nation’s craft-beer giants.

lord hobo brewing company

Photograph by Jared Kuzia

As the owner of celebrated local beer bar Lord Hobo, Everett ­native Daniel Lanigan knew precisely who to consult when he started thinking about making his own beer: the same craft brewers he was buying from. “You ask a lot of brewers in quiet moments, ‘What mistakes did you make when you first started?’” ­Lanigan says. Their advice: Build big.

So Lanigan went big. Really big. Last fall, he purchased 47,000 square feet in Woburn to house his $3 million brewery startup—making Lord Hobo Brewing Company one of the most ambitious projects in New England (second only to Two Roads’ 103,000-square-foot property in Connecticut).

Walking around the immense space, with its glossy blue epoxy floor (it’s slated to ­include a retail area for growlers and cans, private tasting areas for large parties, and a cavernous barrel-aging room), one can easily imagine how Lanigan’s dream brewery could ­eventually eclipse New England stalwarts like Long Trail and Shipyard. The facility’s sheer size could accommodate production rates ­exceeding 200,000 barrels of beer annually—which would position it among the 25 ­highest-producing craft breweries in the country.

And even with the build-out of the 4,000-square-foot taproom, scheduled to be completed this summer, there will still be room to spare. “This place is so big, we’ll never have to move,” Lanigan says. “If we did, I guess that would be a good problem to have.”

lord hobo brewing company

Photographs by Jared Kuzia

The Space: Lanigan’s massive ­facility has had past lives as a post office, a stone and marble manufacturer, and, most recently, a movie studio in which scenes for movies like American Hustle were shot.

The People: Lanigan (above, right) assembled a local dream team: head brewer Vince Tursi (above, left), from Everett’s Night Shift; cellar operator David Kushner, from Harpoon; and brewer-engineer Michael ­Labbe, from the MIT grad-founded Aeronaut.

The Beer: In its first year, Lord Hobo Brewing Company will produce a relatively modest 10,000 barrels, the bulk of which will be three IPA-style “hoppy ales,” and a fourth, called Boom Sauce, that’s a blend of the first three. Lanigan says that not only will that allow for a more consistent product, it will also add complexity, like some of his favorite bordeaux blends in the wine world.