The longtime owners of a Winterport winery and brewery and accompanying tasting room have sold to a group of local investors, who plan to reinvest in the business and grow it.
Winterport Winery and Penobscot Bay Brewery was purchased in October by BRB, LLC from Mike and John Anderson, who started the business in 2001 originally as just a winery and tasting room, before expanding operations to offer craft beer as well.
The new owners — Augusta residents Alex and Katie Kolb, Veazie residents Nick and Kathryn Sawicki, and Bangor resident Katherine Freudenberger, who are all in their late 20s and early 30s — have already undertaken some renovations to the building at 279 South Main St. in Winterport, and held a grand re-opening celebration last weekend.
“We plan to keep the foundation that Mike and Joan laid, but in the future we’re definitely going to experiment with different flavors and styles, and try to draw some new people,” said Alex Kolb, who like his four fellow owners is a pharmacist and a graduate of the University of New England College of Pharmacy.
In addition to eventually adding some new beer styles, the new owners also plan to bring food trucks in on the weekends, and in the warmer months open up the patio for lawn games and other activities.
“We can’t wait for the summer, when we can have food trucks and people playing cornhole and stuff like that,” he said. “We’re really excited to offer something fun for the community.”
The Andersons have retired, although Mike Anderson will stay on with the business through the summer to help the new owners in the transition.
“They have a great view and vision about moving it to the next level,” Mike Anderson said. “Already they have invested time, money and energy to renovate and expand it.”
The Andersons purchased the building on Route 1A in Winterport, the former site of PenBay Ace Hardware, in 1999, and spent two years renovating the space and perfecting their initial lineup of wines made from Maine fruit like blueberries, apples and pears, which was followed by a popular line of ciders. It opened in October 2001, and was followed in 2005 by Pairings, an on-site restaurant, which they operated until 2011.
In 2009, building on the momentum of Maine’s nascent craft beer scene, the pair opened Penobscot Bay Brewery as a sister company. Some of the brewery’s most popular and widely distributed beers include Humble B, a lager brewed with honey, and Building 5 Rye, an IPA. Its beers are available in the Winterport tap room, as well as at bars and in retail stores across the state.
Winterport Winery and Penobscot Bay Brewery’s new hours of operation are 3 to 8 p.m. Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays.