WESTBROOK — Maine Beer Company is planning to expand its distribution center in Westbrook to keep up with production in Freeport.
The brewery, which has had a distribution and storage warehouse in Westbrook since 2013, will move into a 30,000-square-foot space at 15 Saunders Way. The newly constructed space is expected to be completed by June.
Anne Marisic, Maine Beer’s marketing and event coordinator, said the brewery will move all distribution operations to the new location and will vacate its current space at 2 Karen Drive. She was uncertain how large the current warehouse is.
Marisic said the new warehouse, which will be leased from J.B. Brown & Sons of Portland, will better meet the growing needs of the brewery.
“The expansion is part of our natural growth as a business,” she said. “We’ve been looking to grow and this helps us do that.”
The brewery itself, located on Route 1 in Freeport, is nearing the completion of phase one of a two-phase expansion and renovation that will more than double their yearly barrel capacity. Marisic said the warehouse expansion is happening “to match our expansion in Freeport and this will help with our increased distribution.”
Marisic said she expects phase one, which began about a year ago, to be complete this spring with phase two beginning directly after. The first phase added a new production room and office space to the rear of the building that allowed for the brewery to shift from operating on a 15-barrel brewing system to 60 barrels.
The new production space will also hold 120 and 240 barrel fermenters in addition to the brewery’s existing 30 and 60.
“We’ve been operating close to capacity for a little bit now and this is going to help us meet the needs of the market that were currently in and give us a lot more space to do what we want to do,” Marisic said.
The second phase will turn the current production room, now at the center of the building, into an expansion of the existing tasting room.
“We’ve been lucky to be very successful and obviously the demand is high,” Marisic said. “Our current tasting room is pretty tiny, and people come.”
Once both phases are complete, the brewery will be over 26,000 square feet. It will also increase the amount of available parking from 30 spaces to 125 and add more outdoor seating space for the warmer months.
Marisic said the company did not want to comment on the overall cost of the project, especially while it is still underway. She also didn’t comment on the cost of the warehouse expansion.
The brewery expansion was designed by Attardo Pondelis Architecture in Yarmouth and contracted by Zachau Construction in Freeport. The expansion was necessary to keep up with production and give employees “proper office space.”
Marisic said other than adding a few more employees to the production line, their staff hasn’t increased much as a result of the expansion. The distribution center expansion, however, will require the addition of one or two new employees.
Jocelyn Van Saun contributed to this report. Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.
As Maine Beer Company wraps up phase one of its expansion in Freeport, it is also planning a distribution center expansion in Westbrook.