Maine’s craft distilleries are seeing their popularity soar as more people seek out their wares.
The number of craft-focused restaurants and brewpubs in Maine has grown from just over 40 in 2012 to more than 100 in 2016, according to the Brewers Association.
Now the state has more than 1,000 breweries and distillerists, and nearly 2,000 microbreweries and taprooms, according a 2017 report from the group.
The Maine Craft Distilling Association reports the number of breweries has grown more than 250 percent since 2008, and the number is expected to grow further over the next decade, as more young people get interested in making beer and the state is working to diversify its beer and cider offerings.
Craft distillants have been successful in some states, including Washington, which legalized craft beer and has grown craft breweries from five to nearly 25, according the Brewers association.
Craft distilling is gaining popularity in the U.S., but Maine has been relatively quiet about it.
There is no law specifically banning it, but the association said it was not uncommon for Maine craft distillery owners to refuse to sell their beer because they fear losing business.
The state was the only state to ban microbrewery production, and a small number of brewpub owners are now also opting out of the market entirely, according, the Maine Craftdistilling Association.
In Maine, craft distillation was originally known as the “black art,” and it was mainly concentrated in rural areas of the state.
Now, there are a number of small, independent craft distills popping up across the state, such as Farmhouse, which started in 2014 in Maine’s largest city of Portland.
Farmhouse is run by former Oregonian journalist Chris Frahm, who has spent the last six years traveling around the country and speaking about craft distils.
Fraht said he doesn’t want to discourage people from trying to get into the business.
He also wants to encourage people to take chances.
“You can always get your hands dirty,” Frahl said.
“And it is what you have to do.
I want to encourage everybody to take a chance, and if it doesn’t work out, it doesn and you should get your money back.
I am not going to stop trying to educate people, and hopefully this can help somebody else.”
Craft distillations are often found in small, rural towns where people don’t have much of a taste for traditional beer or cider.
But Frahn said he has noticed a shift in people’s attitudes toward craft distILLs.
“It’s a little bit of a changing perception, and I think that’s great,” Fahm said.
While there are craft distillaers in every part of the country, Frahms has found a unique perspective that he hopes to tap into.
“The craft distitilling community is so small, and that’s the thing that’s made us unique, is that we’re so focused on the small, artisanal spirit,” he said.
The number of microbrewing and taproom breweries in Maine, as well as breweries and brew pub owners that have opted out of selling their beers, have also skyrocketed.
Craft distillerist Joe Miller, who founded the Maine Beer and Meadery Company in 2008, said he started out in the craft distiling business as a hobby.
But he found it was easier to make beer in the kitchen than in the bottle, and it is a hobby he has stayed true to.
He said he is not against craft distilled beer, but that he does not want to restrict people from drinking it.
Maine has seen some of the best growth in microbrew and taphouse breweries.
When the state opened its beer distribution system, Miller said, it helped craft distillas grow from small craft dists to a small, growing industry.
But that growth has slowed as more breweries have closed.
Miller said he knows many people who are not beer drinkers, but he does support a variety of craft spirits, and is interested in exploring a new beer in that space.
The Craft Distillery Association is planning a state fair this year in Maine.
It hopes to open a distillery in Portland by 2020, and there is also a beer fair planned in Portland in 2018.
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