Chamber Insider Blog

SBA Finalist Spotlight 2021: Lost Rhino Brewing

Thank you to Matt Hagerman, owner of Lost Rhino Brewing, for answering our questions! Congratulations on being a finalist for Main Street Business of the Year. View all of the finalists here.

Join us for the 27th Annual Loudoun Small Business Awards on Friday, October 29, 2021 at The National Conference Center. Ticket information here.

Tell us your story of how your business evolved into what it is today?

Lost Rhino’s story began in 2011. At the time, Loudoun County had no local craft brew to call its own. Old Dominion Brewing Company, which had been brewing in the county since 1989, packed up their operation in 2009 and left for Delaware, which left a void in the local craft beer community. This felt like the right time to start my own adventure, and having been a brewer

at Old Dominion, I had an idea on how to get started. I purchased some of Old Dominion’s brewing equipment, including its 25-barrel brew house, found my own space, and began setting up the brewery.

My intention in starting Lost Rhino was to bring the spirit of craft beer back into Loudoun County and it was then that we began brewing some of our first and most beloved brands: New River Pale Ale, Rhino Chasers Pilsner, and Face Plant IPA.

Lost Rhino has grown quite a bit since then, but we have not lost sight of our love for the craft. In the brew house, we take pride in bringing classic styles and local flavor in all our beers.

What are you most proud of about your team?

I’m most proud of the culture the Lost Rhino team has created. There’s a great sense of camaraderie among the group. We all get together regularly for team outings and have a lot of fun together. But we have the balance as well. This team knows when it’s time to get down to business and get things done.

In what ways do you give back to the community?

Lost Rhino is committed to community, and we are proud to work with outstanding organizations like Loudoun Hunger Relief, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. One of the ways we give back to our community is through our monthly fundraising events during which Lost Rhino donates a portion of sales to our partner charities.

What would it mean to you and your business to win a Small Business Award?

Being one of the oldest breweries in Loudoun County, we have seen the craft beer and hospitality community grow here over the last 10 years. To be recognized with this award in a community of so many great small businesses would be a true honor.

What is the smallest thing that has made the largest impact on your business?

One thing that has made a large impact is our individualized approach to customer service. We base this on the foundation of building relationships with our fans and guests. Our team takes the time to get to know each of our guests and learn their expectations and then work together to exceed these expectations during every visit. This approach has had a significant impact on the growth of our community of supporters and Lost Rhino fans.

Who is the one person that has influenced you the most in your career?

One person who I have been influenced by is Sierra Nevada Founder Ken Grossman. He has been very successful and very conscious of giving back to the community and environment.

What is your favorite thing about running a business in Loudoun County?

My favorite thing about running a business in Loudoun County is the sense of community here. Meeting other small business owners and supporting their breweries, restaurants, and hospitality businesses are some of my favorite things about working in Loudoun County.

What did you want to be when you grew up as a child?

I always wanted to eventually live near the ocean. Preferably somewhere warm.

What is one book that changed your life and why?

One book that has changed my life is the Steve Jobs biography. He taught me that anything can be changed if you want it bad enough. I loved this quote by Jobs: “Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it…Once you learn that you’ll never be the same again.”

If you’re not in the office, where can we find you/what is another passion you have?

I enjoy going to outdoor concerts and seeing some of my favorite Reggae Rock bands. Also love to fish whenever I get a chance!

How do you see your business evolving in the next 5 years?

We are looking to not only expand and increase distribution in the next five years, but also continue to innovate and create exciting beer brands with our own twist.

In brewing and our daily operations, we thrive on choosing the scenic route, the tough challenge, and the road less traveled. This provides ample opportunities to find novel solutions, adapt to the changing market, and embrace new technologies to help drive our mission forward.

Learn more about Lost Rhino Brewing on their website!