PORTLAND, Maine — Maine’s craft brewing industry has experienced massive growth during the last few years. So much, in fact, that the trade group that represents the industry decided it was time to hire its first executive director.

The Maine Brewers’ Guild said this week it has hired Sean Sullivan as executive director, the guilds’ first hire. Most recently, Sullivan was president of Portland Greendrinks, a nonprofit organization with a mission to create a more sustainable community through networking events.

The growth of Maine’s craft brewing industry necessitated the creation of the executive director position, according to Daniel Kleban, president of the guild’s board and co-founder of Maine Beer Co. in Freeport.

“We finished 2012 with 30 breweries. By the end of the 2013, 40 breweries will call Maine home,” Kleban said in a statement. “We hired Sean to help us scale our organization and allow the guild to focus more time on serving the growing community of brewers who are quickly making Maine a hub for craft beer in the U.S.”

Output by Maine breweries in 2012 increased by more than 20 percent for the third year in a row, according to data from the Maine Department of Public Safety’s Liquor Licensing and Inspection Unit. Over a three-year period, from the end of 2009 through 2012, beer production by Maine breweries has increased from 4.1 million gallons to 7.9 million, or by more than 90 percent.

Sullivan, who officially assumed his new role last week, wrote in an email to the Bangor Daily News that he’s enthusiastic about the new job.

“I’m thrilled to be given the opportunity to lead the Maine Brewers’ Guild during this time of unprecedented growth,” he said. “From helping new breweries get off the ground to working with legislators on issues affecting the brewing community, a stronger guild means more jobs, a stronger Maine economy, and increased opportunities for Mainers to buy locally crafted, high-quality beer from someone right down the road. Frankly, it’s hard not to be inspired by the future of this industry and what it means for Maine.”

Whit Richardson is Business Editor at the Bangor Daily News. He blogs about Maine business, entrepreneurs and the economy.