Nine Locks Brewing celebrates fifth anniversary

Danny and Shaun O'Hearn stand inside where all the magic happens at Nine Locks Brewery in Dartmouth. (Healey photo)

Company launches new craft beer

Right Some Red in advance of anniversary

DARTMOUTH: For cousins Shaun and Danny O’Hearn, owners of Nine Locks Brewing, the last five years have been a blur.

Nine Locks celebrates its fifth anniversary on Friday, and does so launching its newest craft beer, Right Some Red, a German-style, lagered ale with a crisp, Nova Scotia twist. It’s Nine Locks’ interpretation of Düsseldorf’s world famous altbier.

Inside their Waverley Road facility, the two met with The Laker News in their main office to discuss the business, the ups and downs, future plans, and how time has flown by since they opened.

Shaun O’Hearn said like many people it has felt like they have been around for a lot longer then the past five years.

“It’s hard to believe it’s been five years already. It’s been a bit of a blur to be honest,” said Shaun. “Some people say that they think we’ve been around longer then five years because we’ve been so popular, and a lot know about us.”

“It does not feel like five years,” added Danny.

Shaun spoke about running their own business. He called it a “double edge sword.”

“You celebrate all the wins, but you feel every loss harder then if you don’t own the business yourself,” said Shaun. “There’s been more wins than losses.

“Owning your own business is freedom of doing what you want to do. It’s great.”

“We’ve had a few bumps in the road,” interjected Danny, as Shaun nodded in agreement.

Nine Locks Brewery produces a variety of craft beer and seasonal beers, including: Frig Off; Dirty Blonde; Get the Hell Out Stout; the newly released Right Some Red; IPA; Double IPA; Sandpiper (a new type is set for release soon); Watermelon; Snappy; just to name some. In total the company has 13 full-time beers, along with several seasonal drinks that they produce and sell.

Nine Locks’ newest craft beer, Right Some Red. (Healey photo)

Shaun said like most businesses, COVID19 had its impact on Nine Locks, and they had to scramble and make plans that allowed them to get through and continue operating.

“Some businesses thrived through COVID, but it was very difficult on the food and beverage industry,” he said. “When COVID first started and they shutdown restaurants, and tourism halted all the restaurants struggled to stay alive without closing their doors permanently, some didn’t survive.

“For us, we lost a large portion of our sales to the bars and restaurants. However, other aspects of the business grew, as people were home. The NSLC sales went up.

“Our home delivery sales were huge, and that was developed extremely quickly, and we learned a new way of running our business.”

Danny said it was “organized chaos.”

“It was a learning curve for us,” he said with a smile and slight chuckle.

With being as popular as they are comes growth. That means expansion to meet the demand, said Shaun O’Hearn. Danny and Shaun say they are looking at two new locations to build a new brewery, which they hope to have online and in operation by mid-to-late 2022.

“We are working on plans to build a new brewery because we’ve outgrown this location,” said Shaun. “We’re brewing as much beer as we possibly can right now. There’s no room for any extra tanks.”

They are currently investigating two possible locations to determine which would be the best fit for the company, said Shaun.

“We should know that very shortly,” he said.

“Our growth is being restricted right now, we’re being held back to our full potential in this location,” said Danny.

Talking about the last five years, Shaun, and Danny both agreed it’s been a fun ride and they’re looking forward to many years ahead.

Both men said their success is all thanks to one thing—their customers.

“People have to buy our products for us to be successful,” said Danny.

“We’re very blessed to have people that love our beer. It’s a nice, warm fuzzy feeling,” added Shaun.