What do you get when a chef and an IT professional walk into a kitchen? In this case, you get Copper Pig Brewery.
18 years ago, Mike Holland and his business partner, Darrell Bodnar were working for a hospital. He was a chef and Darrell was (and still is) in IT, but they shared a passion for beer. With just a beer kit in a kitchen, they started experimenting and with each batch, the beer got better…good enough to enter competitions. And, after six years of hearing, “you should do this for a living,” they finally decided to go for it. Just three and a half years ago, Copper Pig Brewery in Lancaster was born.
Initially, Mike continued his role at the hospital while growing the business, working 90+ hours a week, until he was able to let go of his “day job” to focus just on the Brewery. While his partner continues to work as CIO at the hospital, they have experienced great success, growing at a whopping 400% since opening and winning WMUR’s People’s Choice Award for best beer three years in a row.
Like many restaurants, when COVID hit, Copper Pig discovered just how much patrons love to enjoy their meals and libations outside. So, when the need arose to expand and upgrade their outdoor seating area, they turned to CEDC for two grants.
“The process was simple,” says Mike. A grant application with CEDC is just a few pages of details and once approved, receipts get submitted to Executive Director, Lise Howson for review and checks get sent back to the business.
“It was really quite painless,” says Mike. “More doable for the average small business.”
With funds from their grants, Copper Pig Brewery put in a new bar outside, which made the process more efficient for waitstaff and resulted in a better experience for customers. They’ve also added more tables, umbrellas and lighting which has provided the Brewery with more visibility to those coming off the nearby bridge. Customers also love the outdoor scene at Copper Pig and share their pics and experience on social media.
For the long term, Mike says this gives them a better of idea of where there is room for growth as they look at potentially expanding their kitchen.
To fellow Coös County small businesses looking for help, Mike says, “Reach out to CEDC. It is a huge resource whether it’s a grant, brainstorming a new business, or you just need guidance. Take advantage of whatever is available.”
If you’re interested in applying for a grant or loan with CEDC, visit HERE to learn more
Coös Economic Development Corporation
1 Middle Street, Suite 318
P.O. Box 205
Lancaster, New Hampshire, 03584