DERRY — Two longtime friends are hoping to brew up success.
Erik Olsen and Paul Kelly are the owners of Kelsen Brewing Company, a new handcrafted ale venture the pair hopes will give beer enthusiasts another homegrown product to enjoy.
“It’s been great so far,” Kelly said from the company’s North High Street facility.
Both Kelly and Olsen have a long history, growing up together in Foxborough, Mass. They are banking on their friendship and business sense to make the brewery successful.
Olsen was already doing some home brewing in Auburn, with Kelly’s help.
“I was brewing beer in my driveway,” Olsen said. “I wanted bigger and better equipment.”
The friends had joked about starting a business, but eventually decided to take that leap together.
“It was a year in the planning,” Kelly said, “and it has just taken off from there.”
There are 19 licensed breweries in New Hampshire, a growing list of companies offering beer lovers a more hometown, community-oriented selection of handcrafted beers and ales.
Right now, Kelsen is considered a nano brewery, a company that will brew less than 2,000 barrels per year.
Olsen and Kelly hope to brew up to 500 barrels in their inaugural year in Derry. Having a smaller space in Derry will give customers a chance to stop by for tastings in a more intimate setting and tour the facility.
Kelsen is brewing two types of beer, including an American-style brown ale. The product will be sold in 22-ounce bottles.
The brewery works on a three-barrel system and can brew 186 gallons at a time, Kelly said.
He said the craft beer industry has taken off, and he and Olsen are excited to put their own personal spin on the process.
“It’s a whole new world out there,” Kelly said. “And you can be creative and scientific at the same time.”
For Olsen,working with his best friend and making a quality product drives him.
“It’s like that saying, if you do something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life,” he said.
The co-owners plan a third ale that will be focused on Derry, but no name has been given to the product yet.
Both Olsen and Kelly are happy to be bringing their brewing talents to the local area.
“The craft beer scene in New Hampshire is expanding and we are excited to bring the excitement to Derry,” Olsen said.
Both Kelly and Olsen hold other full-time jobs, but said creating their ale is something they hope to expand upon.
“We work a lot of night and weekends,” Kelly said. “As time goes on, we’ll brew more.”
Kelsen will host a grand opening event March 1 at its facility, 80 North High St., Unit 3.