Family Business: Jack's Abby

Shelly Hendler is more than just a mother to the Jack's Abby brewery family; the Framingham, Mass. mom has a passion for horses and her sights set on Suffolk Punch horses. Behind the bustling brewery are the Hendler brothers and their mother, who is determined to make her love of horses a family affair. Find out how Shelly Hendler hopes to get some Suffolk Punch horses in the family and how her sons are making her dreams come true.

Shelly Hendler, Mother of Jack, Eric and Sam Hendler, Jack’s Abby

Behind every successful business is a supportive family. Jack's Abby, a well-known brewery located in Framingham, Mass., draws its strength from the very close bond that exists between brothers Jack, Eric and Sam Hendler and their mother, Shelly. Not only have Shelly and her boys been dedicated to Jack's Abby since the brewery's inception in 2011, but they have also spread their family's unique culture and traditions to the very core of Jack's Abby. From fast-paced decision making to an interesting array of animals, learn more about the Hendlers and their unique approach to running a craft brewery!

Craft Brewing Innovators

The Hendler brothers have grown Jack's Abby into an incredibly successful craft brewery. They were among the early pioneers of the craft beer movement in New England, and the brewery has since become renowned for its amazing lagers. It all started from a simple concept: brewing great beer with the help of their creative ideas and family spirit. From there, the ingredients and brewing techniques used at the brewery have transformed over time to match the vision of the brothers, and the unique lagers they've created have won several accolades and awards.

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Family Values Come First

At Jack's Abby, the family values come first. While Shelly is not employed at the brewery, her involvement has been instrumental in helping the Hendlers make successful business decisions. She describes her role as “Mother of Advice,” taking the time to weigh in on everything from product decisions to marketing plans. Shelly often reminds the brothers of the importance of being creative and innovative, reminding them to look beyond their own ideas and work together to find common ground and make improvements. She encourages the brothers to think critically, listen to each other, and always make room for debate.

An Eccentric Menagerie

The Hendler brothers also have an incredibly unique menagerie of animals which helps to keep the spirit of Jack's Abby alive. While the brewery is of course devoted to brewing beer, Shelly has also brought her own touch to the space. She insists on having an array of animals around, ranging from Suffolk Punch horses to a variety of chickens and rabbits.

Shelly is passionate about animals and believes that their presence keeps Jack's Abby grounded and allows everyone to be more relaxed and creative. Shelly often jokes that the animals are her own unique form of team-building—so while Jack's Abby still remains one of the most popular craft breweries in the area, Shelly can often be found tending to her furry and feathered friends at the brewery as well.

Finding Balance for Jack's Abby

The balance that Shelly has brought to Jack's Abby is one of the reasons why the brewery has been so successful. While the Hendler brothers are all incredibly talented and driven, it's Shelly's presence that has allowed them to operate with a balance and work together to build an amazing craft brewery. From her creative ideas to her eccentric animal menagerie, Shelly continues to be a major influence on Jack's Abby.

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Tips on Maintaining Family Values and Dynamic

  • Encourage each family member to bring their own unique perspective, skillset and ideas to the table
  • Take risks and think outside the box
  • Listen to each other, have honest conversations and keep lines of communication open
  • Acknowledge that each person's opinion and ideas are important and valuable
  • Be open to new and different things


Jack's Abby is one of the best craft breweries in the United States, and for good reason. The Hendlers have created an amazing and successful brewery—and even more impressive, they’ve created this success as a family. From Shelly’s passionate leadership to her eccentric menagerie of animals, the family has shown just how important it is to maintain a balance between work and family.

At Jack's Abby, the Framingham, Mass., brewery is truly a family operation—and if the brothers’ mom, Shelly, has it her way, they’ll be counting some Suffolk Punch horses in the family, too!

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