“Portland has a great reputation for quality craft beers,” said Noel McCarthy, of the “1886 Malt House,” this afternoon at the Third Annual New England Craft Brew Summit in Portland. More than five hundred (500) attended the Summit at the Holiday Inn by the Bay, to network, learn from the pros and share their experiences with friends. The event was hosted by the Maine Brewers Guild, Sean Sullivan, Executive Director.
“New York just broke a record with 400 breweries last month. “We are opening one new brewery every six days,” McCarthy said, as he took a break from tending his booth on the lower floor of the Summit. Stewart Mason, the Head Brewer for Sunday River Brewing Co., Bethel, attended the Summit to network because his brewery is expanding. It is in the process of converting to cans. “We have 150,000 cans already stored in a tractor trailer. I think there will be a beer can exemption from the tariffs,” Mason said, before he scurried off to meet up with a colleague.
Tate McPherson, who is self-employed, Core Matrix, represents farmers up in the County. “I bring farmers to the forefront of this whole brewing movement.” He is working on state-of-the-art technology to tell the story of beer – from the barley’s part of view. I’m here on a fact finding mission,” he explained. He said that in the agricultural sector, the brewery movement is the most aggressive growing market in the state of Maine. “This is an interesting Summit because it brings together a broad range of individuals in different aspects of the industry.” Ninety different breweries were represented at the Summit. (Please see below right photo of McPherson.)
Hester Bissell, general manager of Bissell Brothers Brewing Co. said that the brewery has expanded its brewing into Milo as of January. The tasting room will open in July at 157 Elm Street. Hester is married to Noah, one of the co-founding brothers of the company.
At lunchtime, Ethan Evangelos, of Threshers Brewing Co., Searsmont, said that his 1 1/2 year old brewery has become the target of several “right-wing fanatics” who have drafted legislation to limit his business. They want to limit the performance aspect of his business by reducing the number of shows per month. “A vote is to be taken on April 7, but I think we will be okay though,” he said.
Senator Angus King (I) made a surprise visit to one of the three excellent workshops that this blogger attended. He congratulated the industry on creating 1,600 jobs in the state of Maine where they are needed. “We haven’t had the tradition of neighborhood pubs where neighbors can go for easy interaction with each other.” he said in his brief remarks. “This industry contributes to creating community.”