ADVERTISEMENT

http://www.mainebiz.biz

Maine craft brewers bullish on growth prospects in 2019

BY Renee Cordes

1/18/2019
Maine Brewers Guild, University of Maine
Maine Brewers Guild, University of Maine
Maine’s craft brewers are bullish on expected output growth over the next two years, with expectations of double-digit increases in both 2019 and 2020, says a new report.

Maine’s craft brewers are bullish on expected output growth over the next two years, with expectations of double-digit increases in both 2019 and 2020, says a new report.
The report, undertaken by the University of Maine and released Wednesday by the Maine Brewers Guild, looks at the industry’s economic impact and what’s on tap for the near future.
It found that the industry continues to grow at a healthy clip, adding $260 million to Maine’s economy in 2017. The number of breweries grew from only 14 in 2007 to 133 in 2018.
While southern Cumberland County still tops the list with 46 breweries in 2018, other counties have also seen a significant jump in the number of breweries. They include York, which went from two to 18 and Penobscot, which went from one to a dozen over that same period.
In total, Maine craft brewers directly employ 1,910 people across the state and pay more than $54 million in wages. The report found that breweries range from large-scale production to restaurants with small, 200-barrel restaurants, and that 87% of the industry is made up of small breweries producing less than 50,001 gallons.
“We talk about Maine beer like it’s a singular thing, but it’s over 130 business stories wrapped into one novel of economic success,” said Sean Sullivan, executive director of the Maine Brewers’ Guild in a press release. “Anyone who has had the chance to visit a Maine brewery, meet a Maine brewer, or enjoy a Maine beer can take pride in knowing that they are supporting Maine and growing our economy.”
Don Littlefield, general manager of the Maine Brew Bus, added that the craft scene “is creating buzz across the country,” with customers from 44 states and 11 countries taking a Brew Bus tour last year. “These people are passionate about their beer and are coming to explore our great state and great beer.” He recently told Mainebiz that 2019 will be a year of growth for his company, which plans to add more staff to conduct more tours by bus as well as bikes, boats, running sneakers and walking shoes.
On average, craft brewers surveyed for the economic impact study are anticipating a 10% rise in output by the end of 2019 and 15% by the end of 2020.
Employment growth is seen as more modest, with growth seen at 2% in 2019, 5 in 2020 and 7% in 2021, driven by openings of new small breweries.
That jibes with an observation by Justin Lamontagne, a broker with NAI The Dunham Group, in a presentation at Thursday’s MEREDA forecast conference.
Though he’s a big fan of the beer industry in general “and the way they leverage their real estate,” he predicts a growth in smaller, local niche breweries rather than mass producers.