A Year in Review: Baxter’s 2019Posted by Adrienne Nichols
Brewing in 2019 was exciting, difficult and rewarding all in one breath. Exciting was the recognition by Maine’s historical society. The difficult was competing in a saturated market that has turned to clear products. Rewarding was the achievements and milestones we hit. This was our most dynamic year as a company: our Founder retired, we have a female President in a male-dominated business, and we will enter our 10th year of production in January 2020.
Baxter Brewing is committed to our community. That message resonates with the location we chose over 10 years ago to build a brewery. A mill built in the mid-1800s. Really? No erector sets. No clean slate. Why, you ask? Because Benjamin Bates saw the value in Lewiston-Auburn 175 years ago, and so do we.
Our brew-pub renovation was recognized by Maine’s State Historical Society as the best of 2018 (we found out in 2019). At the brewery, this fills us with pride. The history of Lewiston, the people and community that surround us, started with the series of mills through the area. We want to celebrate that every day so preserving the efforts of those before us is paramount. This is evident in the detail taken to preserve the architecture, machinery and overall feel of The Pub.
In 2019 the number of breweries continued to climb. In 2010, Baxter was just the 16th brewery in Maine; 9 years later and Maine is quickly approaching and will surpass 150 breweries in 2020. This has made the market highly competitive and saturated. We responded by introducing multiple yeast strains in house to developing a New England style IPA. We wanted to create a beer that was built on our beliefs yet resonated with the new consumers.
#nameME was a first for us in many ways. Our first beer intended for one state: Maine. It was our first commercial beer that used an English yeast strain. Our first commercially produced beer available in cans only. At 5.8% ABV (alcohol by volume), it was aromatic, juicy and crushable.
Rewarding is our achievements and milestones. Our Flagship IPA, Stowaway, hit 100,000 barrels of beer brewed. Seriously. That’s 3.1 million gallons, 33 million 12-ounce cans, 24.8 million pints almost 400 million ounces. To try and put the volume in perspective is difficult but let me try. If 100 people lived 100 years past their 21st birthday they would need to consume nine 12-oz cans of Stowaway every day. How about this: On a trip to the sun you would need to consume a 12-oz can every three miles covered.
Our Founder, Luke Livingston, retired opening the door for Jenn Lever to take on the role of President. In an industry dominated by males, this may not have been an obvious choice for those looking in. Internally there was no thought needed. Jenn brings years of business and production experience and an unmatched tenacity to winning. We celebrate Jenn and her ‘can’ do attitude, work ethic, knowledge and relentlessness.
We look forward to 2020 to stay nimble and creative, pushing the boundaries of innovation. We have been continuously adding to our team and are ready for the challenges in front of us.