As craft beer popularity continues to grow so does the the beer tourism industry. Maine is currently home to over 60 breweries, in recent years has drawn high profile brewfests to the state like The Festival and Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Across America, there are windjammers sailing the coast of Maine with craft beer cruises and Portland is home to two beer tour bus companies – The Maine Brewbus and Maine Beer Tours.
If you’ve ever visited Portland on a Friday or Saturday you’ve probably seen these two tour companies hopping from brewery to brewery with a full load of people – tourists and locals alike – taking tours, sampling beer, interacting with the brewers and hopefully learning about what makes Maine beer great, they also spend money on these tours leaving with brewery gear and growlers or bottles of beer to take home. This is great for breweries in and around the Portland area but not all of Maine’s 60+ breweries are in Portland, enter The Growler Bus.
The Growler Bus is brand new and hasn’t made it’s maiden voyage yet but will be hitting the street in early July. Gene Beck, owner of Nocturnem Draft Haus in Downtown, Bangor is behind the new wheels that are about to fill the void in craft beer tours in Central Maine.
The bus seats 14 passengers, it has coolers on board to keep beer purchases on ice, plenty of water and snacks and on longer tours the potential for bonus beer sampling, tickets include transportation and all brewery samples along the way. The tours will initially be held on Fridays and Saturdays. Shorter tours will include stops at Geaghan Brothers Brewing, Sea Dog Brewing, Orono Brewing Company, Black Bear Microbrew, Penobscot Bay Brewery/Winterport Winery, Square Tail Brewing Company and 22 Vodka with potential to add tours as breweries that are currently in planning start opening up. Longer tours may reach as far as Deepwater Brewing and Strong Brewing Company or out to MDI for tours at Atlantic and Bar Harbor Brewing with more tours being planned. Pickup and dropoff of all tours will be behind Nocturnem Draft Haus on Broad Street in Bangor.
The Growler Bus will be officially unveiled June 19th and 20th on the Bangor Waterfront during Wine on the Waterfront and Tap Into Summer so people can get a look at the bus and pick up information about tours. Information will also be available on the Growler Bus Website and progress updates can be found on their Facebook and Twitter pages.