Beer is big business in Maine right now. Not long ago in America, when you wanted a beer, you reached for whatever was cold, crisp and effervescent. Most folks preferred a refreshing can of lager-style beer, or, if you were feeling fancy, something imported in a green bottle or a nice pint of British stout on a chilly day at the pub.
But the beer landscape has changed immensely in the last decade, with craft breweries making beer on a small scale, rekindling old techniques and exposing the consumer to new flavor profiles. Some artisan brews are extra hoppy, some sour, others lower in alcohol. Many highlight local ingredients and work closely with farmers and foragers.
Maine is an ideal place for this kind of business. We are a self-reliant, independent people with a deep connection to the land. We are also a discerning bunch of epicureans. We want our beer to complement our farm-to-table food as well as our values. There is room for your brewery on the craft beer map. Do you love beer? So do we.
Something in the Water
Maine boasts a long and craggy, salty coastline as well as deep, sweet lakes. Our fresh spring water is one of the many natural resources that makes this such a special state. Many of Maine’s craft beer brewers will tell you it’s the water that makes our beer so good. If you are a connoisseur of European beer, you may be familiar with Trappist ale. The Trappists are monks who have been brewing a distinctive style of beer in Belgium since the Middle Ages. According to local beer lore here, one of Maine’s great lakes, the Sebago has a mineral content that matches that of those storied suds made by cloistered contemplatives. Perhaps that explains why one of Maine’s oldest breweries crafts a beverage that tastes so divine.
Farmers in Maine labor tirelessly to maximize our short growing season. They know how to extract all the flavors and nutrients from the soil and sun. Lots of beer makers work closely with growers to use local ingredients in traditional and novel ways. Do you enjoy a blueberry beer when you are far away? It is the very taste of Maine on a hot summer day. Using freshly picked ingredients at the height of their power infuses brews with the ripeness of the season.
Carve Out Your Own Space
There’s nothing like a fresh voice to disrupt the market and garner attention in a crowded space. Greenlight Maine Season 5 contestant Stars and Stripes Brewing (pictured) has done just that. This Freeport company makes beer by veterans for everyone. Its founder, Brad Nadeau, served in Iraq as a U.S. Marine Corps sergeant. He opened the brewery for business on Veteran’s Day 2018. All beer is made by a combat veteran, and the company supports veterans in numerous ways because Nadeau believes in treating the wounds of war with vital work and community connection. The beer is good, the taproom friendly, and they are providing an important service to the servicemen and women of Maine. If you started a brewery, what would your brand look like? How could you stand out in the field?
Greenlight Maine is a champion of the small business. If you are a dreamer, come on!