Multiple former employees at Sea Dog Brewing Co.’s location on Broadway in South Portland said they learned they were out of a job through the company’s Facebook post on Wednesday.

In the post, Sea Dog said the location was closing immediately after three years and thanked its customers and employees.

Fred Forsley, co-owner of Sea Dog as well as Shipyard Brewing Company in Portland, said in an interview Wednesday that high costs made the operation unsustainable, and that the decision to close was “brutal” but the right choice for the company overall.

“We tried harder and for a lot longer to make things work than most folks would have,” Forsley said.

Forsley said all employees were contacted regarding the decision to close prior to the Facebook post and was “adamant” that all employees were to be offered jobs at other Sea Dog locations. He commented multiple times on Sea Dog’s Facebook post saying the same.

But Raegan Sheil, who was a server at the location, said she learned she was out of a job Wednesday through a friend who saw the Facebook post and asked if she needed work this summer.

Sheil is in college and worked at the Broadway location on and off for around 10 months. She was scheduled to work Thursday and Friday.

“I started this week thinking I was going back to my summer job, so seeing that Facebook post was so confusing,” Sheil said. “It was like this feeling of disbelief almost.”

Sheil last worked at the location over her Christmas break from school. She said she had wondered if there was trouble after Sea Dog announced in January that it would remain closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, but said she had no idea that management was considering closing the location.

Contrary to the language in the location’s closing announcement, as well as Forsley’s comments on Facebook, Sheil said she and several other employees she remains in contact with were not offered jobs at any of Sea Dog’s other locations.

Jim Bunting, operations director for Sea Dog’s brewpubs, said closing was “very difficult,” but that it was “paramount” to the decision that all staff were to be offered jobs at other Sea Dog operations or related locations.

“All active staff members have been communicated with and they have been offered positions,” Bunting said Wednesday

Lauren DiDonato, another former employee at Sea Dog, said she found out she didn’t have a job to come back to in Maine through a screenshot of the company’s Facebook post that was sent in a group chat she’s in with other Sea Dog employees. Like Sheil, DiDonato is a college student and was also hired around 10 months ago. She was planning to begin working there again before the end of the month.

Now, she said she’ll be juggling the job search while studying for finals.

DiDonato said she has not been contacted by Sea Dog about other employment options. With the sudden closure and mixed messages about whether other opportunities would be available for her and her coworkers, she said she’s not sure she’d take an offer from the company even if they did reach out to her.

“It’s really sad, it’s really unfortunate, and I just don’t think it was handled properly,” DiDonato said.

For Sheil, the confusion and lack of communication surrounding the sudden closure was already “enraging,” but what frustrated her the most was that her experience and that of her coworkers did not match up with what the company and owner were telling people online.

Sheil said she wouldn’t consider working with Sea Dog in the future. Even if she had received more notice or been offered a job at another location, Sheil said that could mean taking away shifts from those workers and also getting fewer hours overall.

“There’s a lot of things to think about and consider before just letting people walk through the doors of another building,” Sheil said.

Sea Dog Brewing Co. has five other locations in Maine, including another location in South Portland, and also has four operations across New Hampshire and Florida.

Braeden Waddell is a reporter covering Belfast and Waldo County. He grew up in Waldoboro and joined the Bangor Daily News in 2023 after working as an associate producer for National Public Radio. He graduated...