June 1, 2021 by Gabrielle Martin
Hinghamite Mike Dyer became co-owner of Scituate-based Untold Brewing in March. Dyer originally hails from the San Francisco Bay Area. “I guess a small, local claim to fame is that I graduated high school with Tom Brady,” he shares, giving a shout out to the Junipero Serra Class of 1995.
He remained in that corner of the West Coast for college, attending San Francisco State where he double majored in business and cartography. “While finishing my degree, I was part of a tech startup that created interactive hiking maps for outdoor enthusiasts. We later sold the business to National Geographic, where I worked as the Vice President of Marketing for nearly 15 years.”
Dyer reveals that his job at National Geographic had him traveling all across the country: “I’ve visited 49 of the 50 states, and met my wife Janet while in Washington D.C.”
Janet, a native of Wilbraham, Massachusetts, was living in nearby Weymouth at the time. After a lot of long plane rides back and forth between Boston and Denver, where Dyer was living, the two decided to move in together and Dyer relocated to the East Coast.
The couple was married in historic Downtown Hingham at the Old Ship Church in July of 2009 and welcomed their daughter Brynn in September of 2011; the Dyer family then moved to Crow Point, where they resided for several years, “just steps from Foster School.”
“After the two back-to-back years of polar vortex, we moved to Tampa for a couple of years until Janet received a promotion that required us to end our extended Florida ‘vacation’ and move back home,” Dyer explains.
And while he admits there was a brief debate about moving to a neighboring South Shore community, Mike and Janet ultimately decided that Hingham was their home: “We found a great house on Union Street right at the entrance to Wompatuck. This location in town is fantastic, central to everything, and Womp is literally out our back door!”
The Dyers are self-described “pet people,” adopting 5 shelter cats over the years (“Yes, crazy,” he admits) as well as Chelsey, a Boston Terrier. He says “all of them get along, including Skippy, the most recent addition to the family, who is a 15-year-old orange tabby from Scituate Animal Shelter.”
When not working, Mike is a handyman who “loves home projects, tinkering on cars, working in the yard, or making things with my hands.” He credits Bill Sarni, who Dyer describes as “the local wood carving legend,” for getting him interested in carving bird decoys a while back.
Hingham, meet Mike.
Talk to us about Trillum, Untold, and your (very exciting!) role as the new-co owner of Untold: what’s the connection to Hingham and the community?
“I’ve always had a love for craft beer, and as part of traveling frequently for National Geographic, I made brewery visits as a way of passing evenings away from home.” Dyer says. “In Florida, we lived minutes away from Tampa Bay Brewing Co., where I got my foot in the craft beer industry by volunteering. I cleaned kegs, assisted on the packaging line, swept floors, about anything they would let me do The owner of TBBC recognized that my experience was underutilized packing cases and moved me into the office to lead the sales and marketing for TBBC, this was that ‘Oh wow, I’ve done it!’ moment, realizing that I could marry my professional experience with an industry that I wanted to be a part of.”
“When we moved back to Hingham, I worked remotely for TBBC for a while, but the grind of regular trips to Florida was tough on family life,” he admits. “I had met the owners of Trillium and stayed in touch with their leadership, and ultimately I joined Trillium in the fall of 2019 as their Director of Marketing, where I spearheaded their marketing strategies, new product branding, social media efforts, and hospitality.”
“We all have 2020 stories,” Dyer says. “Mine was helping Trillium pivot from a walk-in taproom to a contactless, socially distanced, ecommerce business: we developed a program for offering contactless ordering for food and beer, established a home delivery business, and created ordering systems for curbside pickup of packaged beer. It was a wild and rewarding year that I look upon with a sense of pride.”
“I met Matt Elder, the founder of Untold Brewing, on October 13, 2017, which is actually my wife’s birthday and Untold’s grand opening day,” Dyer recounts. “She and Matt attended business school together at Boston University, which means he’s actually known my wife longer than I have!”
“Being in the beer industry, and both raising daughters of the same age, we became friends and would get together regularly to have a beer. On a rainy afternoon in March, Matt shared that his business partner at Untold was moving cross-country and asked if I’d be interested in coming on board as a co-owner with him. I’m rather entrepreneurial, and since making the transition to the craft beer industry, I’ve had the goal to someday own a brewery; thus, the opportunity to work alongside a friend at a highly regarded, local brewery was a dream come true.”
Dyer describes Untold as “unique in the brewing world, even on a local basis.” Their motto is “Every Beer Has a Story,” and Dyer says their “beer, branding, and on-site experience shares the stories of our past and our local community. We are true and true South Shore!”
And he means it, down to the details: “Our taproom is a renovated 1852 one-room schoolhouse, which as a history nut and former member of the Hingham Historical Commission, makes me very proud; our beers are named after local places and historical moments, and since inception we have contributed to local charities. Last year, we collaborated with Kathleen Jodka, founder of Mad Love, to brew a special beer to support the festival at the South Shore Conservatory and their scholarship program for young rockers, a program that we are eager to continue this year. Most recently, we raised over $12,000 for Dana Farber and the North South River Watershed Association in partnership with local artist Becky O’Toole (her work can be found at Acquire Good in Hingham).” And currently, the company is working in tandem with Scituate Pride on a special project for Pride Month.
Dyer laments that “Hingham is Untold’s second home,” saying, “We receive a ton of support from local residents and businesses that either offer our beer at their business or visit us routinely at our brewery. Next to Scituate, [Hingham is] the town with the highest number of social media followers and regular customers. We’re working on furthering this connection this year with some exciting collaborations … folks will need to stay tuned for details on that.” He teases.
Okay, and can you us me about the upcoming 4 year anniversary of Untold? Congratulations, by the way!
“That’s right, Untold turns 4 this October 13! After successfully navigating a challenging 2020, we are pulling out the stops on this year’s celebration: while details are still being finalized, people should expect a week of celebration at the brewery with music and special beer releases, collaborations with local businesses and charities, a ticketed beer dinner, and more! The goal is to sincerely thank the community for their support and to look ahead to the future.”
What was the most challenging aspect of your new role as the co-owner of Untold, coming over from Trillium? The most rewarding?
“Having worked for a start up early in my career, I arrived at Untold pretty well-versed in the day-to-day differences (and challenges!) of working for yourself. The biggest hurdle is time, there simply is never enough! There are big picture things we want to accomplish, the day-to-day that needs to happen, and a million other things in between. Matt and I are a great team and take a divide-and-conquer approach to running Untold, but there are still a lot of items to do at the end of every week.
The rewards, however, are numerous: first and foremost is being hands on with all aspects of the business, which means that I get to interact with our customers, staff, business partners, vendors, breweries, etc. I’m a people person and enjoy finding connections. As you might imagine, being a brewery owner makes you a pretty popular person to talk to.”
Where’s your favorite place to go in town when you're looking for a good selection of craft beers?
“We’re blessed with a lot of great options for grabbing a beer here in Hingham! Stars and the Snug, certainly have the best rotating selections, and for ambiance it’s difficult to beat Alma Nove or Scarlet Oak. If buying beer to take home, Fruit Center and Hingham Liquors are my go-to’s for unique and fresh offerings.”
Your favorite places on the South Shore?
“Venturing outside of town, it’s hard to beat a visit to Island Creek in Duxbury for waterfront oysters and beer, or grabbing a bar stool at TK O’Malleys or the Galley on Front Street in Scituate. Curtis Liquors in Cohasset is the spot for the breadth of selection for beer to take home; I’m always finding something new there and their staff is super knowledgeable!
As Hinghamites, we are extremely fortunate, for within an hour's drive, we have access to some of the best craft beer bars (and breweries for that matter!) in the country. I’d be remiss in not mentioning places like Armsby Abbey, The Publick House, Vee Vee, Bayberry Beer Hall, and Cunard Tavern or specialty retailers like Craft Beer Cellar in Belmont, Fenway Beer Store, or the Fort Point Market.”
If you had a different career, what would it be?
“Ooof, tough question as I kinda reshaped my career once! If I was doing it all over again, I’d see myself as a contractor specializing in old home renovation and restoration. I love history, working with my hands, and feel most rewarded when the finished product is something tangible: I think that’s part of why I came to craft beer, there’s something very special about seeing a product made from scratch.”
Do you have a hidden talent? If so, what is it?
“Not sure if it would be considered a talent per se, but I’m really good at organizing and cleaning, kinda freakishly so. ‘Neat freak’ is kind of an understatement. This comes in pretty handy both on the homefront as well as professionally, whether that be making use of limited space, keeping life running smoothly, or designing good-looking guest spaces.”
Where’s your favorite place in town to spend a Saturday?
“We are partial to Hingham’s parks and open space, it’s part of our love for the town! Being right at Wompatuck we love hiking, snowshoeing, or just taking the pup for a walk. The loop around Triphammer Pond is so beautiful in every season. World’s End and Turkey Hill are spots we always take out-of-town visitors, because how do you beat those views? But more frequently is a family trip downtown to hit Nona’s or the Snug, or a walk around Derby Street with lunch at Burton’s.”
What do you love most about Hingham?
“For me, it’s the rare combination of old and new: antique homes, stone walls, the Old Ship where Janet and I were married, and the traditions that tie it all together like the Fourth of July Parade and Christmas in the Square. It’s the access to the water, to Boston, great schools, and the fact that pretty much everything you need is within town limits.”
When you need to get away, where's your go-to vacation spot?
“Based upon the number of beach stickers I see in town and neighbors I recognize there, my answer is not unique: Chatham. Janet and I bought a little cape there in 2010. It’s where we lived for 6 months right after our daughter was born, and where we go to unwind. Just a night or two there anytime of year, and I’m mentally reset and relaxed.”
What are you most looking forward to in the coming year?
“Personally, just being able to see friends and family again! I think we’re all in that same boat. Janet and I love having people over, and obviously last year that was not possible. Professionally, Matt and I have a healthy list of things we want to accomplish this year, from launching a private events component of Untold to new collaborations, charitable programs, and a couple other exciting developments in the works. I’m excited to roll up my sleeves and get it done!”
What's your secret to success?
“Infuse a little fun into everything you do. It could be as simple as maintaining a light-hearted rapport with your staff when working together on a difficult project or taking a break from the day-to-day to learn something new. I’ve found this approach to build a sense of camaraderie, ownership, quality, and job satisfaction that in turn yields better results.”