Author: Emily McNeil, BSU Student
Entitled Beer Company, located on North Street in downtown Hingham, has been making strides in quality and consistency despite losing around 50% of its business due to Covid-19 shut-downs and restrictions. Owner Brian Barry grew up in Braintree, Massachusetts and started working in restaurants as a teenager. Developing a passion for beer, Brian decided to start his Company, Entitled Brewing Company, accidentally in 2014. “I was always passionate about beer and homebrewing and made a recipe for a restaurant I work at that was only sold there. People loved the beer so much I decided to build a company around it.” Combine a love of good beer and the desire to work for himself, Entitled Brewing Company was born.
Starting a business from scratch was no cakewalk for Brian. “The toughest thing was probably learning to mass produce a product while keeping the beer fresh.” Beer must be kept around 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit for storage, which became difficult in the New England summer’s heat. He says, “The reaction of the customers that loved my beer inspired me to keep going.” With persistence and support from family, friends, and fans, Brian succeeded to create the beer so many local customers loved, and now has a product line of 6 different Beers; the Entitled IPA, New England IPA, Betterment, Wit and Wisdom, Artie’s Strong Arm, and Therapy Session. He says when starting a business on your own that “I would have trusted my gut more and not let others influence my decisions. The most difficult challenge was creating brand awareness and growing at a manageable pace.”
With the development of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is not a surprise that many local companies such as Entitled faced many challenges. With the loss of jobs and closure of various restaurant, Brian lost about 50% of his customer base. Bars and restaurants closing were a huge problem for Entitled, as customers could not get drinks or draft beers. Brian decided to change his methods for sales and began offering his beer in take-out in restaurant like Caffe Tosca, in Hingham. With restrictions further lifting, when asked about the future of his business in 6 months to a year Brian says “I would like to see it back to where it was prior to Covid-19. I try to keep my goals reasonable in order to grow at a comfortable pace.” When asked further about future growth, and whether stepping-back and being more of a passive owner or further increasing his involvement in the company, he says a hybrid of the two would be best. “I would love to increase sales while also allowing other to manage the day to day for a fresh perspective. I feel that by stepping back and allowing others to manage the daily grind, it would allow me to see my business through another lens.”
However, the future looks bright for Entitled, which is a lot to say after so many businesses closed/failed during the Covid-19 pandemic. Entitled Brewing Company relies mainly on word-of-mouth to bring in new customers, but with the development of a new website and increased social media presence, he hopes to change that. “What makes us stand out is the consistency of the liquid, which is always fresh and always delicious, as well as the value of the beer on the retail market. I have always classified my beers as dangerously drinkable. The reason they should choose Entitled is because you will not get a better product at the value ours is sold for. I wanted to price my beers at a price point that the average income can enjoy, while still maintaining the highest quality.