By Chris Sweet
A new brewery will open along Maine’s midcoast, Sasanoa Brewery on Westport Island is scheduled to open in June. Organic farmers Kyle DiPietro and Angie Trombley are adding a brewery to their eight-acre farmstead. Sasanoa will start with a 2-bbl system with six fermenters in the brew house with room to grow. The couple grow many different crops that are planned as future ingredients for their beers including chestnuts. Sasanoa Brewing, like the farm, will be certified-organic joining Peak Organic as the only organic brewers in Maine. DiPietro has plenty of brewing experience with stints at Ramapo Valley Brewing Co., Brooklyn Brewery and Great Adirondack Brewing Co., all in New York State.
Sebago Brewing Co. has officially opened its $5.5 million headquarters/brewery/restaurant/taproom in Gorham. Co-owners Kai Adams, Brad Monarch and Tim Haines have built quite a gem only about five miles or so from downtown Portland. The new brew house is four times the size of its original brewery (now owned by Lone Pine Brewing Co.). The restaurant seats more than 190 patrons.
Yet another business is thriving thanks to the craft beer industry in Maine. Wooden barrel reconditioner River Drive Cooperage-Millwork in Buxton is expanding to meet demand from Maine brewers producing barrel-aged beers. River Drive previously expanded from owner’s Matt Albrecht’s home only this past September. Now plans have been announced for an additional 4,000- to 10,000 sq ft expansion. The expansion will double River Drive’s current output of 10,000 to 15,000 wooden barrels per year and add three to five employees to the current ten. It should be said that demand is not just limited to Maine craft brewers, River Drive also services Maine distilleries and beer and spirits-makers around the US.
Another ancillary craft brewing off-shoot business is also growing…the 3rd annual New England Craft Brew Summit conference and trade show. This year’s edition was held in its largest venue yet, Portland’s Holiday Inn by the Bay in March. Last year, 500 people attended the summit when it was held at the University of Southern Maine.