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Susan Axelrod

Susan Axelrod's food writing career began in the kitchen; she owned a restaurant and catering business for 15 years before turning to journalism. By day, she is the social media editor for Portland Press Herald. To relax, she bakes, gardens and hikes with her husband and their two dogs, preferably followed by a cocktail or a Maine beer. Susan can be contacted at 791-6310 or On Twitter: @susansaxelrod

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Posted: September 10, 2013

Behind the keg: Maine breweries, distilleries offer tours and tastes

Written by: Susan Axelrod

Heather Sanborn, owner of Rising Tide Brewing Co. in Portland, one of numerous breweries and distilleries around the state that welcomes visitors. (Press Herald file photo)

In sheer number of craft breweries and distilleries, Maine is well outranked by California, Colorado and several other states. But with far fewer people, Maine ranks #6 for craft breweries per capita — one per 36,000 Mainers, according to the Brewers Association, a national trade organization. (Compare that to one brewery per 118,000 residents of California — hey, where would you rather live?)

Maine’s small-batch distillers are not quite nipping at brewing’s heels, but their numbers are growing, with Maine Craft Distilling in Portland’s East Bayside neighborhood, Infiniti Fermentation & Distillation on the city’s waterfront and Wiggly Bridge Distillery in York among the most recent newcomers.

Most of these distilleries and breweries like having visitors; they are justifiably proud of their products and their process and want to show off both. The larger operations offer tours and tastings, some of the smaller ones just do tastings (because frankly, there’s not much to see). We’ve put together a comprehensive map of brewers and distillers that will be delighted to show you around and/or give you a taste — and we’ll do our best to keep it updated with the latest information. However, it’s always a good idea to call before you visit.

Another way to visit several breweries and distilleries is to take a tour. Here’s Shannon Byran’s report on The Maine Brew Bus. Other local operators are Maine Beer Tours and Maine Foodie Tours.

View Brewery and Distillery Tours in Maine in a larger map

Allagash Brewing Co.

50 Industrial Way, Portland | 207-878-5385
Tours typically last about 30 minutes; reservations are strongly recommended. Free tastings of four, 3-ounce beers, which change daily, are separate from tours and offered in the retail store. Due to the high volume of visitors in the summer months, there may be a wait for tasting. Open Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; last tour at 4 p.m.; taps close at 4:45 p.m.

Atlantic Brewing Co.

15 Knox Rd., Bar Harbor | 207-288-2337
Open 7 days a week from Memorial Day to Columbus Day, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Free tastings all day. Free tours at 2, 3, and 4 p.m. Tours take 20+/- minutes and are suitable for all ages.

Baxter Brewing Co.

130 Mill St., Lewiston | 207-333-6979
Tours are conducted Wednesday-Sunday at 3 p.m. Each tour includes one free 4-ounce pour of one regular, commercially available beers. Also has a tasting room  offering samples: 4-ounce pour $1; 8-ounce pour $2; 16-ounce pint $4.

Black Bear Microbrew

19 Mill St., Suite 4, Orono | 207-889-9123
Tastings in the taproom: Monday – Wednesday 3-10 p.m., Thursday – Friday 3 – 11 p.m., Saturday 2 – 8 p.m. 5-ounce samples $1.25; pints $4; weekly “Brewer’s Choice” special $3.50.

Boothbay Craft Brewery

301 Adams Pond Rd., Boothbay | 207-633-3411
Brewery tours are available daily during business house with a purchase of a $5 wooden nickel, which is immediately redeemable in the brewery or at the tavern. Tour and tastings last approximately 30 minutes. 21-plus only. Hours: Wednesday – Thursday 3 – 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 11:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Bunker Brewing Co.

122 Anderson St. Portland | 207-450-5014
Offers tastings and samples Thursday and Friday 5-8 p.m., Saturday noon-5 p.m. Call to schedule a tour.

D. L. Geary Brewing Co.

28 Evergreen Dr. Portland | 207-878-2337
Tasting room open Monday – Friday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., with tours of the brewery offered at 2 p.m.

Funky Bow Brewery and Beer Company

21 Ledgewood Lane, Lyman | 207-423-9348 or 207-409-6814
Stop by the new taproom every Friday from 4 to 9 p.m. for Growler Night with free wood-fired pizza and live music. Call to schedule tours of the brewery.

Maine Beer Co.

525 US Route 1, Freeport | 207-221-5711
Tasting room open Tuesday-Saturday noon-7 p.m.; Sunday and Monday noon-5 p.m. The tasting room features 8 beers on tap, including some brewery only releases. Huge glass windows allow for a view of the brewery operations. No tours.

Maine Craft Distilling

101 Fox St. Portland | 207-798-2528
Tours and tastings available Tuesday-Thursday 1-5 p.m., Friday-Saturday noon-6 p.m.

Maine Distilleries

437 U.S. 1, Freeport | 207-865-4828
Tours are offered five days a week (seven during the summer months). Each tour lasts about 30 minutes. The free tours are on a first-come, first-served basis, typically noon-5 p.m.

Maine Mead Works

51 Washington Ave. Portland | 207-773-6323
Open for tastings Monday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sunday noon – 4 p.m. Tours offered Monday – Saturday: May-December 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.; January – April 3 p.m.

Marshall Wharf Brewing Co.

2 Pinchy Lane, Belfast | 207-338-1707
Tasting room hours: Tuesday-Sunday 11 a.m.-4 p.m. After 4, tastings are available at Three Tides bar and restaurant next door.

New England Distilling Co.

26 Evergreen Dr., Portland; 207-878-9759
Tours offered Monday – Friday noon – 4 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Oak Pond Brewery

Oak Pond Rd. Skowhegan; 207-474-3233
Tours conducted during regular business store hours, Monday-Friday 3-5:30 p.m.; Saturday 12:30-5:30 p.m. There are no predetermined tour times and tours occur upon request as business allows. Tours are led by owners Nancy or Don Chandler, who also brew the beer.

Oxbow Brewing Co.

Brewery tasting room: 274 Jones Woods Rd., Newcastle; 207-315-5962
Tastings Wednesday-Saturday noon-7 p.m.
Blending & Bottling tasting room: 49 Washington Ave., Portland
Tastings Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday 1-9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 1-11 p.m.

Penobscot Bay Brewery/Winterport Winery

279 S Main St. Winterport | 207-223-4500
Tasting room open May – December, Tuesday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. $3 for four, 1-ounce samples of wine or four 2-ounce samples of beer. Larger servings of beer, wine and cider available.

Rising Tide Brewing Co.

103 Fox St., Portland | 207-370-2337
Tasting room open Monday – Saturday noon – 7 p.m., Sunday noon – 5 p.m. Tours offered Monday – Thursday 3 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 1 p.m., 3 p.m., and 5 p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

 Sebago Brewing Co.

48 Sanford Dr. Gorham | 207-856-2537
Tours and tastings Monday-Friday at 2 p.m. Visitors are asked to call ahead.

Shipyard Brewing Co.

86 Newbury St. Portland | 207-761-0807
Virtual tours offered every hour on the hour 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday – Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Sign up for full brewery tours online, offered on Tuesdays 5:30-7 p.m., except in the winter.

Spirits of Maine, Bartlett Winery

161 Chicken Mill Pond Rd. Gouldsboro | 207-546-2408
Tasting room open from June-October or off season by appointment.

Sweetgrass Farm Winery and Distillery

Winery: 347 Carroll Rd. Union | 207-785-3024
Open for tours and tastings every day, including Sundays and holidays, Mother’s Day – Dec. 31, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Portland tasting room: 324 Fore St. | 207-761-8GIN
Winter hours: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Thursday – Monday; noon – 5 p.m. Sunday

 Tree Spirits

152 Fairfield St. Oakland | 207-877-4477
Open for tastings and tours: May – Labor Day Noon – 5 p.m. Wednesday – Saturday; Labor Day – Dec. 31 Noon – 5:30 p.m. Thursday – Sunday.

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