Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A brewery for every 42,000

So Maine has a brewery for every 42,000 people, according to the Brewers Association. That's awesome as a consumer, maybe not so great if you're a craft brewery, after you figure out how many of those 42,000 actually drink craft beer. It helps that most of our breweries are good enough to keep people coming back, and that my fiance and I are drinking our share of Maine-brewed beer.

The report also states that Shipyard is the 26th largest brewery in America, and the 16th largest craft brewery. I'd quote the AP brief on it, but the AP would sue me for that, even though it's just a summary of a press release, so read it here if you don't want to bother wading through the info in the Brewers Association pdfs. Also, Magic Hat is the 10th largest craft brewer, and Vermont has the highest number of breweries per capita.

Atlantic Brewing buys Bar Harbor brewing

Good news, I think. A year ago, Bar Harbor brewing was bought by an out-of-state firm, which is about when they started selling Geary's-brewed six packs. And the six packs were almost as good as the bombers. But Atlantic Brewing just announced they bought up their Bar Harbor competitor. It's such a weird thing to have mergers and buyouts in the tiny Maine brewing community. For years, according to the MaineBiz book of lists, Bar Harbor Brewing was only putting out 300 barrels a year. Not surprising since it was a cellar operation for so long.

I suppose it's good in that Bar Harbor beer will have access to Atlantic's distribution chain. I've seen their ales as far south as New Jersey, and meanwhile Cadillac Mt. Stout is hard to find outside of Maine, where it's treasured as one of the best on the world.

I hope all this works out. At the very least, arguably Maine's best brewery is back in Maine hands.

WABI: Brewing uo business in Bar Harbor
Beer Scribe Andy Crouch's take on the buyout.