Name of your brewery: Earth Eagle Brewings
Year founded: 2012
Location: 165 High Street, Portsmouth, NH USA
TMA: George (George Heilshorn, co-founder of Earth Eagle Brewings), thank you for sitting down with us! Could you please tell us how did you get started with this brewery? What was the motivation and the final “push” factor for you?
EEB: Alex McDonald and I started home brewing together in 2009. We started with a wonderful gruit version of DFH’s Worldwide Stout. It was wonderful coming out of the fementer, not so much out of the bottle a few weeks later. A few years later we had won some home brew medals and were constantly goaded by family and friends to sell our beer–that was the final push factor, well that and wanting to take some control of our futures. We found a central yet clandestine property and opened up selling 4oz. samples and t-shirts.
TMA: How challenging was it to open your brewery? What were the unique challenges that you had to overcome?
EEB: Everyone before us dealt with the various bureaucracies so we knew what we were in for. After sending off our paperwork we just expected the worst time frame and wound up being pleasantly surprised. We self-funded more that 90%of our start-up costs for a 2 barrel brewery and a tasting room. Since then the business has grown itself. All the expansions and upgrades have been funded by Earth Eagle proceeds. Today we’re at 5 barrels, we have a kitchen, 40 seats, a full bar and guest taps, seven days a week. I guess some people dig what we are doing, and we pinch ourselves about it every day.
TMA: Has your brewery business growth been organic?
EEB: Absolutely. We are 100% merger and acquisition free. We have, however, been aided and abetted by other breweries, as we have done for them. Stronger together!
TMA: What would you say to the folks who are in your town for the first time and are contemplating to visit your brewery (even if you do not offer tours, why should visitors drive by your brewery and try your beer at pubs that carry it?)
EEB: Come on over for a unique, first-rate experience in drinking, eating, service and aesthetic. We brew our own delicious and unique beers including great hopped brews, a cornucopia of sours, and gruits–a beer containing a wide variety of plants, including or excluding hops, for bittering and flavoring purposes. Our house-prepared food has gotten rave reviews–think upscale pub fare. Our employees are the best and praise abounds for them on social media, and, finally, the vibe/feel/look in our gastropub is funky–funky in the best of ways! There’s no other place like it, anywhere.
TMA: What makes your beer different from others?
EEB: Unrestrained creativity I suppose — try a Pumpkin Curry Pepper Porter. Our beer is like no one else’s — a Watermelon Gose perhaps. We do whatever we want, no matter how counter-industry it is–like a Mandrake Scottish Ale. We do what we need to do to keep the creative energy flowing, to stay interested–Chaga Maple Sap Strong? Don’t worry, if those smoked boar’s heads didn’t taste delish in a beer we’d never serve it, period.
TMA: What makes this town/city special? Why did you start here, and not somewhere else?
EEB: Portsmouth is the premiere city of the Seacoast region. It’s a growing, picturesque and historical town with NH’s first brewpub, lots of great people, restaurants, and bars. It’s also the area where Alex and I wound up settling down in.
TMA: What do you think of local craftsmaking in general, not limited to the beer? Is it alive and kicking in America?
EEB: ‘Course it is–you wouldn’t be reporting on craftsmaking if it wasn’t alive and kicking. This area is rife with creative people and you can’t keep a creative person down, you really cant! It’s the soul of many industries, particularly beer.