Henry Manice at brewery
November 27, 2023

Brewing up fun

Alumnus taps entrepreneurial spirit to launch brewery
by By Christine Yu ’94

Henry Manice ’05 cofounded Mighty Squirrel Brewing Co. eight years ago. Based in Waltham, Mass., the brewery boasts the number one selling craft beer in Massachusetts: Cloud Candy. Manice recently took some time out of his busy schedule to speak with Andover magazine about his business journey, what’s behind the names, and how PA nurtured his entrepreneurial mindset.

You previously worked in health care. What prompted the switch?

I had been working at a medical device company in California and became good friends with my co-worker, Naveen. We shared common values and an interest in entrepreneurship. At the time, there was a standout craft beer scene in San Diego. We loved going to taprooms—seeing the tanks and the canning line, listening to live music, and enjoying food trucks—and we wanted to be part of that. We launched Mighty Squirrel in the summer of 2015 and opened our taproom three years later.

Where did the name Mighty Squirrel come from?

The short story is that we wanted to create a joyful, strong brand, and we saw that other breweries had fun names like Belching Beaver. The longer story is that there are aggressive squirrels in California; one even stole my taco on the beach! We needed a name for our original beer and so we started calling it “squirrel.” After two years, the name grew on us. We added the word “mighty” to suggest that even something small like a squirrel can take on a lot and grow, just like we are trying to do with our company as we grow.

Cloud Candy, Cosmic Distortion, Pacific Coast Time—your beers also have quirky names. How do you come up with them?

The Mighty Squirrel brand is about fun and joy. It’s community-oriented and welcoming. We try to send that message through our beer names and blurbs on the cans. Our “Dear” series is a selection of beers named after people who have been an important part of our journey. For example, Dear George for our head of operations. Dear Bob for an incredibly supportive landlord.

The owner of Mighty Squirrel Brewing Co., based in Waltham, Mass., Henry Manice ’05 says it’s hard for him to choose a favorite beer. “It depends on the time of year—or the time of day.” (Submitted photo)
What made you decide to go to a school like PA?

I looked at a lot of schools and was blown away by Andover. I also heard great things from family friends who had either gone to Andover or their kids had. And I liked that it was close, just 45 minutes from my home. So I could be a boarding student, my parents could come for sports matches, and I could go home, too.

What do you remember most about your Andover experience?

We were given a lot of independence. There’s a sense of trust that Andover has in its students from day one, even though we were only 14 or 15 years old. Andover gave us the benefit of the doubt and people weren’t breathing over our shoulders. That contributed to my entrepreneurial mindset, because as an entrepreneur you have to be independent and self-motivated.

Which teachers or classes had the most impact on you?

Greg Wilkin was my English teacher and my dorm parent. He was influential, as was Thayer Zaeder ’83, my art teacher. I absolutely loved my art classes.

Categories: Alumni, Magazine, Magazine Online

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