In 2016, the founder of a startup craft brewery attended Business Mastery.

Find out what he did next to achieve 400% growth and a $12 million investment.

The Story of Lord Hobo Brewing Co: Origin

Daniel Lanigan, a veteran restaurateur and bar owner with a passion for craft beer, saw a unique opportunity in the northeast region for a series of bold, New England-style IPAs with the ability to scale. He founded Lord Hobo Brewing Co (LHBCo) in 2015, a company rooted in the idea that great beer is the world’s most accessible luxury. 

The Power of Playing Big

While most brewers start small, Daniel went big – raising enough capital for a 50,000 square-foot facility and adopting a wholesale distribution model from the get-go. But with massive overhead, Daniel had to go far and high quickly in order to keep the lights on. And that he did – selling 3,000 barrels in the first six months of opening. “That’s never been done before. And it’s only because we started so big.”

From Operator to Owner

In 2016, Daniel attends Business Mastery in Palm Beach, where Tony helped him shift his mindset from that of a business operator to that of an owner. “The business doesn't devour me anymore. It doesn't own me. I have freedom. I realized that letting it go, trusting, and hiring people better than me will allow me the time to do what I'm good at.”

2016: Over 400% growth

The year after Business Mastery, LHBCo went from producing 3,000 barrels to 15,400 – a staggering 413.3% increase in production – and was named the fastest growing regional brewery in the nation by the Brewers Association, an incredible feat to accomplish for such a young brewery. But geometric growth requires expansion, and in order to keep up with demand, Daniel knew he had to secure an additional investment.



Tony told Daniel at Business Mastery:

“You didn’t sell me on the beer. You sold me on having a greater experience of life. And it’s a difference of spending $4 or $8.”

“We are selling value”

For an extra $4, you can drink like royalty

LHBCo’s core story is one of value. “The best beers in the world are $8. There's nobody, not even a Saudi prince, that can buy a better beer than that – whereas with all the other luxury items of the world, there's always someone who can buy something better. But that's not the case with beer. You can spend $4, and buy a beer that will make you feel bad, or for $8 you can buy the best beer in the world. So for an extra four bucks, you can literally drink like royalty.”

Tony told Daniel at Business Mastery:

“You didn’t sell me on the beer. You sold me on having a greater experience of life. And it’s a difference of spending $4 or $8.”

The challenge

Getting everyone on the same page

But despite having an outstanding core story, Daniel was the only one telling it. “That core story is only being told by me. My team doesn’t fully understand it.” Tony challenged Daniel to figure out a way to get all of his salespeople, distributing partners, and employees to passionately and effectively sell LHBCo’s story of value. “That will be the difference between a $100 million company and a billion dollar company,” Tony said.

“One of the core philosophies of the brewery, to us, is that great beer is the world’s most accessible luxury.”

- Daniel Lanigan



Turn team, distributors, retailers, and customers into raving fans

As Tony teaches at Business Mastery, the core strategy behind business growth is to create raving fans out of your customers – because satisfied customers go away, and raving fans stay. This principle resonated with Daniel, who was determined to achieve geometric growth by not only making his customers raving fans – but also his team, distributing partners and his retailers.

Here’s why creating a raving culture was essential to Lord Hobo’s growth:



“I look at it like a pyramid. Developing a raving fan culture starts at the top. It's important that they are all raving fans of the company and of working with me and my core leadership crew. I make sure that they're given all the tools they need to succeed and have a great life.” Daniel hires the right talent, those that are aligned with his core values, and then invests in their development.


Distributing Partners

“We made sure that our distributing partners loved us and our beer, because they're our street warriors out there fighting for us. They could make us really successful, or they could really hurt us. That’s a really important relationship.” Lord Hobo has about 15 different distributing partners, who have up to 100 other breweries in their portfolio. At 100 employees each, that’s 1,500 people they are constantly striving to get to love the LHBCo brand just a little bit more than the rest.



“If we had that sales person in the distribution network who loves us, that will transfer on to the retailer. So we became determined to get the person who is buying beer for the restaurant across the street to put our beer in the front – chest-high, big stacks by the door, in premium positions. It also means providing great support to our retailers, and something as simple as not ever being out of stock.”



As Tony says, fall in love with your customers, not your product – and Daniel executed on that principle by researching who his customers were, why they were buying his product, and honing in on their needs. He also focused on building his brand – investing heavily into packaging, marketing, and advertising. “We don't just sell beer. We're really selling a lifestyle and truly understanding what our consumers need,” he said.



Proximity is Power

Daniel learned at Business Mastery that in order to truly get ahead, he had to put himself in proximity with people that were playing the game at a higher level than he was. “I really concentrated on surrounding myself with brilliant and successful people. I flocked to get access to them.”

“If you can get proximity with people that are the best in the world, things can happen because all of the people they know, the insights they have and their life experience.”

A Crucial Investment

Daniel understood how difficult access to capital had become in the crowded craft beer marketplace, but at just two years old, he needed an additional investment to fund LHBCo’s rapid growth. Because he had put himself in proximity of extremely successful people, a chance encounter led directly to him getting a massive private equity investment. “A guy left a note on my car. We got to chatting, and after a couple meetings he introduced me to his private equity firm and they ended up giving us $12 million. Now they're our business partners for life.”


step 3: after the deal


Invest in New Initiatives

After receiving the $12 million investment, Daniel was able to thoughtfully accelerate LHBCo’s growth without limitation and the stress of everyday cash flow. He invested in people – growing his team from 65 employees in 2017 to 103 employees in 2018 – as well as laboratory equipment and technology, which allowed him the capacity to offer new products, open a new flagship taproom, and expand into 15 states and international markets. LHBCo has continued to grow geometrically – doubling production in 2017, and by 50% in 2018.

"It’s not what we get, but who we become and what we contribute, that gives meaning to our lives.”


Feeding America and Operation Underground Railroad are two philanthropic projects that are close to Tony’s heart. Join him in his fight to end hunger and child trafficking!


The Secret to Living is Giving

Business Mastery not only provided Daniel with the strategies he needed to succeed, but it also gave him renewed sense of who he is and what he wants out of life. Success used to be about material things: a boat, a second home, and season tickets to the Celtics. But after experiencing first-hand at Business Mastery the power of contribution, Daniel realized that life is about giving back. “Nothing moved me more than donating money to Operation Underground Railroad. That was the most moving thing I've done in a long time. Writing a check to a stranger who I'll never meet, and knowing that it will change their life­ – that’s power.”

"It’s not what we get, but who we become and what we contribute, that gives meaning to our lives.”


Feeding America and Operation Underground Railroad are two philanthropic projects that are close to Tony’s heart. Join him in his fight to end childhood hunger and child trafficking!



Turn a $10 Million Company into a Billion Dollar Company

It’s staggering to think that 96% of businesses will fail over a 10-year period of time – and for the remaining 4%, it does not necessarily mean they succeed, it means that they’ve survived. Daniel is committed to overcoming the status quo in a big way – with a goal of taking LHBCo from a $10 million company to a billion dollar company in 10 years through constant and strategic innovation. “We are always growing the business. The only limitation for us is our own ability to think how to innovate. And we won’t ever stop innovating.”

An extraordinary life

As Tony says, the key to living an extraordinary life is living life on your terms. No longer putting in 100-hour work weeks, Daniel has invested more time into his health, and is able to concentrate on what he does best – ideation. “It's really hard to make time for ideas and innovation when you're constantly being owned by the business. That was important to me. Transitioning from being an operator to an owner was a massive psychological shift – and I feel like I got there.”

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