One day Larry busted out a concoction that he dubbed “Larry’s Lemonade” and served it up to family and friends. Followed by some short ones, Larry’s Lemonade was an instant hit. After receiving high marks from everyone, Larry knew he was onto something.
Larry’s creation then found its way throughout Hampton Roads, VA to the Outer Banks of North Carolina with the help from our friends at The St. George Brewing Company. Larry insists to this day that had it not been for the support of his beloved “Lemon Brew-Crew ”, Dana, Pat, Dave, Senior, Pete and Vic, the world would never get to know The Original Larry’s Hard Lemonade®.
That there is the end of the beginning…
This here is the start of the beginning…
You see, Larry isn’t just known for his beer. Larry for many years was a sought after Jeweler and that’s what paid the bills. Well the truth is, 2015 and 2016 were some pretty lean years for Larry. The economy was terrible and jewelry was just about the last thing on most of people’s minds. But during this time, Larry and Vic’s friendship grew into a brotherhood as Vic had been having a pretty rough time himself. Larry and Vic would spend time reminding each other that somehow, things would get better. Vic would keep repeating the words of the promise that his father demanded Vic make to him just days prior to dying suddenly from undiagnosed cancer. That promise was “I Will Stay In The Fight”.
Larry found jewelry work where he could and Vic was lucky enough to be working for a father and son, Bill and Pete Ballou. Pete and his father own several businesses locally. One of them is a Craft Beer and Comedy Tour Company named BrewHaHa Comedy Tours. Pete had brought in Vic to help him drink some great local craft beer and make people laugh, which was right up Vic’s alley around that time. During one of their many adventures they both met and became friends with Larry. They tried his beer, which they just couldn’t get enough of. Now if you have ever been around Larry for even two seconds you will hear about his beer and see the pure love he has for it. Pete, who has a great eye for potential, loves to dream big and comes up with some pretty darn good ideas, went to his father, the man we all call Senior and said, “If there is ever anything you should invest in, this is it”. Senior, who is a brilliant and successful “Old School” businessman with a huge heart tried Larry’s Lemonade and agreed with Pete. Larry’s Lemonade was a huge local favorite for years but like anything else in this business, you have to spend money to make money. Well, we had a SPOOL and NOT a POOL. Now don’t for one second get it wrong, you won’t ever meet a group of happier people then the Lemon Brew Crew, but the Craft Beer Market is a tough market because there are so many great craft beers out there. But there is only ONE Original Larry’s Hard Lemonade, and that’s exactly what Vic reported back to Senior and Pete. Senior agreed to invest in The Original Larry’s Hard Lemonade. He saw that with the appropriate marketing, Larry’s Lemonade could do really well. But our overwhelming joy was short lived and brought to a screeching halt just a few months into the new beginning.
Larry had been keeping a big secret. In March of 2016 Larry noticed a small knot on the right side of his neck but didn’t give it much attention. Over the next few months the small knot turned into a large painful mass making it virtually impossible for him to sleep. Larry was reluctant to go see a doctor because times were tight and Larry, like so many other Americans, didn’t have medical insurance. When Vic started noticing how much pain Larry was in he asked Larry what was wrong and Larry showed him his neck. Vic immediately went to Senior who said, “Ill pay for the appointment, and get him an appointment scheduled NOW”. We finally convinced Larry to go. Our greatest fear was confirmed. In mid 2016, our beloved founder was officially diagnosed with a very aggressive form of cancer that had metastasized in his neck and was growing at a rapid pace. Obviously that was one of the toughest days of Larry’s life and devastating to our inner circle. Later that day, Vic and Larry were processing the news and circling the wagons because this was NOT going to be the end of their new beginning. They had fought to hard and come so far to even consider anything other than a full recovery as an option. Vic asked Larry what he could do to help and that’s when Larry told him “I love my Beer, it’s everything to me, I just want to see it go into cans and bottles so everyone can enjoy it the way I see it in my heart before I die”. Without a moment of thought Vic promised Larry that he would make it happen and then demanded a promise from Larry. Vic made Larry promise him that he would fight and concentrate on nothing other than getting better. They spent a few hours after the appointment catching their breath, hugged one another (In a totally manly way) and it was right then and there that they decided that they would not allow another second of negativity to steal their energy or their precious time. They decided this would NOT be the end of the new beginning that had just begun. You see, all of us here at The Original Larry’s Hard Lemonade are what you could call, “Comeback Kids”. Our motto has been from the beginning, “When Life Handed Us Lemons, We Turned Them Into Beer”. Well life had at just handed us a whole bunch of lemons.
Throwing in the towel is just not who we are and it is not what the Lemon Brew Crew do. So there we were, buried in lemons so to speak. Right then and there we vowed, WE WILL STAY IN THE FIGHT! WE WILL OVERCOME THIS AS A FAMILY!
Vic told Senior the terrible news and his promise to Larry. He said, “I have given my word and I need you to back me”. Senior did not hesitate and told Vic, “Get It Done”. Vic began working with the incredible staff at the St. George Brewing Company, who does our contract brewing. They changed what was scheduled to be a twenty-four-month project into a 7-month reality. As Vic and Senior worked with St. George to fulfill their promise to Larry, Larry worked with his incredible Riverside Medical Team to keep his promise. Larry took on cancer with his unrelenting “Thumbs Up” attitude and determination. Larry’s strength and courage inspired all those around him, especially Vic who was hell bent on fulfilling his end of the deal.
In January of 2017, doctors gave Larry another thumbs up. He was kicking the cancers butt. Just two days later Vic kept his promise to Larry. Bottles are next week and Senior is buying a canning machine so that the rest of the world can love our beer as much as we do. Lets just say that 2017 has started out pretty darn good, and with the Lemon Brew Crew, it’s going to get better.