Portland Maine’s craft brewery incubator

There is a special neighborhood in Portland, Maine, one that’s developing a pretty solid brewing history, a place that has seen a brewery start up and become one of Maine’s most successful, a place that has seen small startup breweries find their place in the Maine beer scene, pack up and move on to bigger and better things and has also been a place that has seen a brewery close its doors and now is witnessing a new batch of young breweries entering the market.

Industrial Way in Portland is a short stretch of road between Riverside Street and Evergreen Drive. In 1995 Allagash Brewing Company’s founder, Rob Tod, decided to open his brewery at 100 Industrial Way. Allagash’s Dee Dee Germain explained to me that the decision was made to open on Industrial Way due to proximity to utilities, especially water, price point and size of the warehouse.  One of Maine’s most well-known breweries, Allagash expanded its operation in 2007 to 50 Industrial Way but still holds onto the original location which houses its wild beer facility.

Just down the street at One Industrial Way is a multi-bay warehouse, the original home of Maine Beer Co., Rising Tide Brewing Company and Bull Jagger Brewing.

In late 2009, David and Daniel Kleban opened Maine Beer Co.  in Bay 3 at One Industrial Way. Daniel Kleban explained their reasoning for choosing Industrial way, “It was one of the few places that offered the right combination of zoning, size, cost and most importantly, floor drains. Didn’t hurt that Allagash was across the street either.” Maine beer Co. found its place in the Maine beer scene and needed to expand, they built a new facility in Freeport, just a skip outside of downtown and moved in March of 2013.

Another success story out of One Industrial Way is Rising Tide Brewing Company. Husband and Wife team Nathan and Heather Sanborn founded the brewery in Bay 2 of One industrial in October of 2010. Rising Tide moved the brewery to Fox Street in Portland in March of 2012 as part of their ongoing expansion.  I asked Heather why they chose One Industrial: “We choose One Industrial Way because the space had exactly the elements we needed to start a Nano scale brewery – 1500 sq. ft. of mostly open warehouse type space, floor drains, high ceilings, overhead door, small office space.  It’s pretty tough to find that combination of things all in one place and I think it’s the chief reason that building has become a brewery incubator.  The other great aspect of One Industrial Way is that we were in the heart of a cluster of breweries, which has some great advantages – particularly when Allagash, which has been incredibly generous in sharing their wisdom and their tools with other brewers, is part of the cluster.”

Bull Jagger Brewing had the shortest run of the three at One Industrial Way; they opened in the fall of 2011 as Maine’s only exclusive lager brewery. The brewers parted ways in March of 2013.

Brewing at One Industrial fell silent after Maine Beer Co. moved on, but mash paddles are stirring once again, a new class of ambitious young brewers have put down roots in the bays of One Industrial. Bissell Brothers Brewing, Foundation Brewing and Austin Street brewing.

Bissell Brothers Brewing, founded by brothers Noah and Peter Bissell is the first of the new breweries at One Industrial to mash in and brew a batch. They are going to be brewing hop forward American ales in Bays 1 and 3 which was Maine Beer Co.’s old space; they chose One Industrial to take advantage of a location that had previously been home to another Maine brewery.

Foundation Brewing Company's Sign at One Industrial Way

Photo Courtesty of Foundation Brewing Company

Foundation Brewing Company is currently residing in Bays 5 and 7 which did not previously house a brewery but still offers all of amenities that make One Industrial a perfect spot to start up operations. I asked Joel Mahaffey of Foundation Brewing why they chose this spot and his response echo’s very closely the same reasons as everyone else; floor drains, overhead doors, affordable, good location.  “It’s cool to be in a brewing cluster where there’s a lot of interest in the neighborhood.”


Photo Courtesty of Randy Williams

Austin Street Brewery is planning on brewing a wide variety of styles but will focus heavily on beers fermented with Brettanomyces. The brewery is located in Bay 8, Bull Jagger’s old space; it is nearly complete and currently working through the licensing process. Jake Austin calls out the floor drains, location, price and neighboring breweries as deciding factors for choosing One Industrial.  “The fact that there will be 3 of us making beer at that location is a great bonus. Looking forward to be a part of something special in the beer world at 1 industrial way.”

Industrial Way offers a unique combination of factors that makes it appealing to brewers looking to go pro, this in turn makes it a craft beer destination for visitors to Portland. Just before Christmas the Maine Brew Bus included Bissell Brothers Brewing as a stop on their Casco Fiasco tour, I expect all of the breweries at One Industrial will get included at some point. Whether it’s a ride on one of the local brewery tour busses or just a trip to Industrial Way this cluster of breweries makes it easy for beer geeks to get the biggest bang for their buck, it’s hard to find four breweries living on the same street.



Chad Lothian

About Chad Lothian

Chad Lothian lives in Old Town, Maine. He is a craft beer enthusiast and homebrewer. Chad has travelled to brewpubs, breweries and brewfests all over New England.