An underground distillery with a close relationship to Consolidated Power Co.
Their debt-ridden employees appear to the player as ghostly skeletons -- orange, buzzing, and unable to speak except through shoulder-slung tape reels.
When Conway first approaches him at Equus Oils, Joseph asks briefly about a crash that left "booze and glass all over the interstate." Afterwards, the remains of a wrecked delivery truck can be found near Equus Oils, along with Hard Times' signature casket-shaped kegs.
At The Lower Depths, Harry insists that he is only serving Hard Times whiskey. After Junebug and Johnny's show, he admits that he has no money to pay the band, and that he had to make a deal for the whiskey. If the player chooses, Harry may end up paying Junebug with an IOU that the company left him.
Later in Act III, Conway and Shannon stumble upon a secret entrance to the company's distillery hidden below a decaying church and graveyard. Here, Lem Doolittle guides them on a tour of the facility. In a tragic mix-up, Conway is offered some of Hard Times' top-shelf whiskey as a new employee (which he is not). Unable to resist, he ends up in debt to the company for both the whiskey and the tour. However, Doolittle also gives them what they had come for: information on how to get Xanadu running again.
Conway's imminent departure to Hard Times hangs over the entirety of Act IV, and he has started drinking heavily again. Shannon repeatedly suggests (or can choose to suggest) that he not go work there, and that he stop drinking alcohol, but he deflects each of these discussions. At one point, Conway and Shannon pass workers from Hard Times on a raft, and Conway and the workers exchange a greeting. While Shannon speaks with Poppy at the Echo River Central Exchange , Conway is intercepted by Hard Times workers, and is last seen drifting away down the river with them on a raft, now entirely transformed into a neon skeleton.
The bartender, Harry, insists he has just gotten back from a vacation, and that he is serving only Hard Times whiskey. The customers gossip about the company and the strange rumors surrounding it. As the play progresses, it is revealed that Harry was not on vacation but had gone bankrupt, and that he was forced to sell his customers' debt to the company in exchange for more whiskey to keep his bar running. In the end, a Hard Times employee appears in the half-constructed space between the show and the audience to collect the debtors.