Idle Hands Craft Ales in Everett announced a business partnership Monday with Lowell's Enlightenment Ales Inc. The collaboration will result in both the Idle Hands and Enlightenment brands continuing under the business license of Idle Hands, owned by Chris and Grace Tkach. Ben Howe, owner of Enlightenment, will join the Idle Hands team as head brewer and the company’s first full-time employee, joining two other part-time Idle Hands staffers.
Thanks to a recent expansion, Idle Hands will have the capacity to brew five-times more beer than it did previously. While Howe surely helps there, he also brings his own highly regarded brand to Everett. Enlightenment's flagship bière de champagne is a preferred food pairing at L'Espalier and other Boston restaurants. Each of his beers are labor intensive. Howe tells me he brewed just 50 barrels of his own beer last year but is already on track for much more. Idle Hands focuses on traditional German and Belgian styles. To this point, both brewers have self distributed.
The goal of the partnership, according to a press release, is "for both Howe and Tkach to be able to focus on the work they each enjoy most, while continuing to grow two local brands with distinct followings."
“As much as I love the freedom of being my own boss, I've found that the whole running-a-business thing gets in the way of what I really love: brewing beer and being creative,” says Howe. Howe is a former assistant brewer at Cambridge Brewing Company. Both Chris and Grace Tkach have MBA's and a familiarity with the business side of brewing.
“I always envisioned starting this brewery with the goal to build it to the point where I could hire a head brewer and turn my focus more on running and continuing to grow the business,” says Chris Tkach.
Effective immediately, both Idle Hands and Enlightenment branded beers will be brewed, bottled and distributed out of the Idle Hands facility in Everett.