BANGOR, Maine — Andrew Geaghan, owner and head brewer at Geaghan Bros. Brewing Company, has been involved in craft beer for as long as he’s been alive. His parents even stopped at their company’s Bangor pub before bringing him home from the hospital the day he was born.
Beer is his life. And that’s never been more true than this year.
After 10 months of construction, Geaghan’s unveiled its new $900,000, 3,600-square-foot production space in Brewer to the cheers of more than two dozen supporters and fans on Tuesday. The expansion will allow the company to increase its production eightfold and sell bottled beer throughout central and northern Maine for the first time in the company’s 40 years.
The Geaghans, a family with deep roots in Brewer, started Geaghan’s Pub in Bangor in 1975 and started brewing in 2011.
Brewmasters will start making the company’s standards — the Refueler, Smiling Irish Bastard and Presque Isle Honey and others — at the new Brewer facility by the end of this week.
“We’re ready to roll, I can’t wait until beer is in here and rolling out the doors,” Andrew Geaghan said gesturing to the floor-to-ceiling sized stainless steel vats behind him.
Geaghan expects to brew up to 1,280 gallons at a time at the new location. That’s enough beer for one person to drink two beers every day for the next 12 years. Brewers will continue brewing at the Bangor location, however, their focus will shift to beers that take more time or are more experimental in nature.
The pub in Bangor will still be the hub of the business but the expansion will put Geaghan’s closer to a category of breweries that includes Bar Harbor’s Atlantic Brewing Co., which reported producing 101,000 gallons of beer in 2012, and Gritty McDuff’s of Portland, which reported making 111,000 gallons in 2012. It will also bring more jobs to the area. Since starting to brew in 2011, the company has gone from 55 employees to more than 85 after the expansion is complete.
There aren’t currently any plans to expand the pub in Bangor, but Geaghan said it’s always a possibility.
“We may do some things that will allow us to better showcase the beer, but the best part about the pub is that we can grow and change while still having it feel the same,” he said.
Prior to opening the new space, the company brewed in a small addition connected to the pub in Bangor. However, as demand grew, it quickly grew out of the space.
Geaghan said his company’s expansion is indicative of the nationwide trend toward microbrews. However, he said, it takes more than creating a good-tasting beer.
According to the Brewers Association, formerly the Brewers’ Association of America, 38 percent of microbrew sales are based on the story behind them.
“People are looking for an experience, a sense of place. They’re willing to pay a dollar more to feel like they’re part of something,” Geaghan said.