Posts by: Erik Peters

Birds on Tap – Yup, That’s a Thing

Nothing goes better with a cold one than a bird. Think about it – fried chicken, wings – nothing takes down a case of beer munchies like . . .

(Hold on, I’m being told that this blog post is supposed to be about the growing popularity of combining bird watching with craft brewery tours.)

At any rate, our good friends at the Maine Brew Bus are again teaming up with Derek Lovitch of Freeport Wild Bird Supply to offer a series of tours throughout the year that will allow you dear reader, to check out some of the finest fowl our great state has to offer while simultaneously visiting some great local breweries.

Details about last year’s Birds on Tap events here. For this year’s tour dates, check out this and this.

No promises, but if you go to one of these events, I think we all know what you’ll be saying.

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Whiskey Distilled from Beer? Yes, Please!

Cool story in yesterday’s Portland Press Herald about collaboration between a couple of prominent locals: Liquid Riot has distilled some leftover Sebago Brewing beer (Bonfire Rye ale) to produce a whiskey-like liquor called Bonfire Spirit. Starting April 28th, Sebago will be selling it at its four brewpubs. One catch: there are just 200 12-ounce bottles so it will go fast.

The PPH story details the process in which Sebago and Liquid Riot ended up working together on the creation and also recaps some of the other cross pollination that goes on in the local scene between bars, brewers and distillers.

All and all, some nice publicity for Sebago and Liquid Riot and a good look at the history of southern Maine brewers working with their colleagues/competitors.

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Will Mass. Pay to Play Scandal Affect Maine Brewers?

A ruling involving the business practices of a Massachusetts-based beer distributor may keep Maine-brewed beers out of bars, restaurants and other retailers for 90 days.

On Friday, the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission suspended the Craft Brewers Guild’s license for 90 days for engaging in a scheme in which the company gave money to bars in greater Boston to serve specific beers. CBG distributes beers for a number of Maine craft brewers, including Allagash, Sebago Brewing, Gritty McDuff’s, Geary’s and Maine Beer Company.

Stories here (playing up the Maine aspect of the ruling) and here (more Boston-centric and discussing CBG’s business practices in depth). The decision should be here, however, as of the time we posted, the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission had not yet made it available.

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NYT: Blue Ox is Good for Planet

Cool story recently that gave some national publicity to a local business.

Saturday’s Times reported on cover crops – noncash crops that farmers plant between harvests to improve soil health and manage erosion. Part of the story discussed Lisbon Falls’ own Blue Ox Malthouse, including a quote from founder Joel Alex about helping farmers make money off their cover crops

Story here. More on Blue Ox here and here. More on cover crops/environmentally sustainable farming here.

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Portland to Beer Drinkers: Get Your Snack On

Now that’s what we’re talkin bout.

Reversing one of the worst decisions of all time, officials in beer Mecca Portland, Maine, (known principally as the home to this humble blog), will now allow breweries located in the City’s industrial zones to sell prepackaged food at their tasting rooms. Appears, however, that this victory for snack enthusiasts will come with a price – literally. In conjunction with permitting food sales, the City looks set to create a new license for breweries, distilleries and wineries, which will cost them an additional $500.

Stories here and here.

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Stroudwater Spirits: Looking for Investors

More news about Maine companies in the beer/wine/distilleries space: North Star Brands, LLC of Portland, which includes Stroudwater Spirits (maker of small-batch bourbon, whiskey, vodka and gin), recently filed with the SEC to raise $750,000 in an equity offering. The offering hasn’t gone on sale yet, however when it does, the minimum investment will cost you a cool $25,000.

Along with Bissell Brothers and Cellardoor Winery, Stroudwater Spirits has also recently announced plans to lease space at the Thompson’s Point development in Portland.

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Blue Ox Malthouse Celebrates with Open House on Friday

Great story involving small business and beer in Maine: Lisbon Falls-based Blue Ox Malthouse is having an open house on Friday, January 22nd to celebrate their launch and to thank the businesses that have helped make it possible.

More details available here, however, the Reader’s Digest is that Blue Ox’s new malthouse occupies 7,500 square feet and uses traditional methods to process raw grain into malt, a key ingredient in craft beer recipes. The malthouse has the capacity to produce more than 500,000 pounds annually, placing it in the top 10 largest facilities of its kind in North America and nearly doubles Maine and New England craft brewers’ access to locally sourced and produced malts.

Nice job, Blue Ox and thanks for helping prove once again how wicked smaht Ben Franklin was.

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Teamsters: Keep MillerCoors Brewery Open!

Interesting intersection between the worlds of beer and labor law as Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa sent a letter to executives at SABMiller, Molson Coors and MillerCoors, urging them not to close the MillerCoors brewery in Eden, North Carolina.

You can read the letter here, however, Hoffa essentially called MillerCoors out on its economic justifications for closing the brewery and claimed that the real reasons for doing so were to cut capacity and raise prices in the U.S. and “to avoid regulatory scrutiny during the federal government’s antitrust review of the Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI) and SABMiller (SAB) merger, and the related sale of SAB’s stake in the MillerCoors joint venture to Molson Coors.”

No response from the brewers to Hoffa’s letter as of yet. And no truth to the rumor that this post was an excuse to spend 8:51 of my life watching this on YouTube.

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Livers Quake in Anticipation of Maine Liquor Price Changes

Listen up booze enthusiasts1: Maine is adjusting how it determines its cut of liquor sales, which will result in price changes on February 1 for a number of products.

A story by Darren Fishell of the Bangor Daily News contains the lowdown, along with some pretty cool charts. A couple of interesting takeaways:

  • The price of Allen’s Coffee Brandy, perennially Maine’s most popular liquor won’t change – except for the 375-milliliter size, which will increase by $.50;
  • The largest percentage decrease in price will come for Five O’clock Vodka’s 375-milliliter bottle. The shelf price for this item (unofficial motto: “The Vodka to Have When You’re Having More Than Four”) will drop 25% (from $6 to $4.49); and
  • The new pricing system sets a standard markup for spirits across a certain category and is designed to ensure predictability and a better deal for Mainers. Additionally, it’s designed to help the State compete with our hated neighbors in New Hampshire, whose lack of a sales tax allows them to play Lucy to Maine’s Charlie Brown and draws an estimated $30 million to $40 million away from Maine in revenue each year.

Check out the article for more detail on the changes.

1 Boozethusiasts (?) Did I just invent a word?

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