It’s 2018 and while I missed the deadline for New Year resolutions and celebrations I did want to write a post to share why I’m excited for 2018 – here’s a hint, it has to do with beer.
I’ve been working on this blog for roughly six months now and frequent readers of my posts will know I love everything about craft beer in the pine tree state. Thankfully I don’t see that changing anytime soon; there’s so much to love and be excited for!
Without further adieu, I present my reasons to be excited about Maine’s craft beer industry in 2018!
- The Continued Spread of New Breweries
I don’t know if any of you have noticed or not but Maine has a lot of breweries. A lot. In 2016 alone there were 76 breweries spread across the state that accounted for
over 316,000 barrels of production according to the Brewer’s Association. Those numbers have only continued to increase through 2017 and now into 2018 and I don’t see that changing anytime soon especially with some of the larger breweries expanding their production.
With so many breweries competing for a relatively small population (in comparison to more populace states) you’d probably think the available market space open to new breweries would be all but used up. You’d be wrong. While I can’t find the exact number of new breweries who opened their doors in 2017 I can think of several that I’ve been to and was extremely impressed with.
Goodfire Brewing Company and Lone Pine Brewing Company both opened in 2017 (they’re actually in the same building) in Portland and both produced exceptional beers. Lone Pine in particular had an excellent year as they have already announced
they will be moving their production into Sebago Brewing Company’s Gorham facility.
In 2017 Lone Pine was the 36th largest brewery in Maine, this year they should break into the top 10 and will quadruple their production.
Goodfire Brewing opened later in the year and while I’ve only been able to try Prime, their hoppy New England style IPA, it can easily stick with the best of them (think Substance, only better).
2018 will see the opening of Waterville’s first microbrewery appropriately name Waterville Brewing Company, the expansion of a new and improved Baxter Brewing tasting room in Lewiston, and the completion of Maine Beer Company’s massive production and tasting room expansion.
- Economic revitalization of “Main Street”
With over 70 breweries spread across the state it makes sense that many of them are in small, rural communities. What many people may not fully realize is the extent to which these large and small breweries are impacting the local economy, but that’s okay, that’s what I’m here for.
In one of my first posts I mentioned how Maine is experiencing a surge in “beercations” where out-of-stater’s come to Maine on vacation to among other things, taste their way across the state through beer. On a smaller and no less important scale, local Mainer’s are doing the same thing.
Craft breweries are not only offering great beer to their local inhabitants, they’re also enticing craft beer enthusiasts (like me) to go to their towns and try out their unique brews which inevitably leads to stopping at a local café or heading to a local restaurant for some local grub. This in state tourism is helping to not only boost the craft beer economy but also other local businesses along the way.
Craft brewers are also purchasing everything local they can get their hands on whether it’s local grain, hops, furniture, or art. Then, when they’re done brewing with the ingredients they send it back to local farmers who use the spent grains for fertilizer or food for their livestock. How is this not a win-win for all involved?
The continued news of breweries opening outside of Portland and the other metropolitan areas bodes well for the continued economic boost many rural towns desperately need. What’s even better is that many of these small town breweries will not face competition for a crowded urban market giving them more breathing room to grow their business and perfect their beers without competing for their patron’s attention.
2.5 The tax bill
Additionally the recent tax bill means a major boost for breweries across the state. The tax cuts on barrels of beer from the current $7.00 per barrel to the new $3.50 will mean savings for breweries across the board. Obviously bigger breweries that produce more barrels of beer will experience bigger savings than their smaller counterparts, however, all breweries will see some level of savings that will be reinvested in employees, equipment, and beer.
2018 looks like another great year for Maine breweries with no signs of slowing down. With all the exciting changes and news already this year there’s no reason not to believe 2018 will be another fantastic year for Maine’s craft beer industry. I can’t wait to pull up a bar stool and dive into 2018. Cheers!