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Sure, it’s a new year for us all. But we are still grinding.
The year is quickly shaping up to be a big one for us at Bissell Brothers. We’ve got an ambitious production schedule with a lot of great beer that we are aiming to brew. Some old favorites, and some new surprises. We’ve got an ambitious travel schedule, with visits planned to St. Louis, Belgium, the UK, Colorado. We’ll visit some old friends and make some new ones along the way. We learn from these experiences, and bring those lessons back home to Maine where we will put them to use to brew better beer and provide a better experience for you, the people who support us and the reason we are here.
We’ve also got Milo. As of January 10, 2018, we’ve got the inaugural brew under our belts up North. A double brewday on our old system, producing 28 barrels of wort that will ferment and condition for the months ahead. It’s the start of a long-term project for us, one that will come together in the months and year ahead. We still don’t have a definitive timeline for Milo, but with each passing day we are closer to our vision of serving our hometown, making an impact in that community. All while still serving our home base of Portland, Maine.
Although we look ahead to the new year, we look back on the old. 2017 was a banner year. From our earliest days, we’d blast Tokyo Police Club tunes to get us through those long packaging runs, a positive musical force to get us through some tough workdays. In December, that very band rocked our Four Year party, truly a celebration for our brewery and our friends.
We also gave back, in a big way, to our community. Thanks to you, big time. Our four weeks of giving in December raised over $20,000 for local charities, and in the year 2017 we donated nearly $42,000 altogether to worthy causes. We could not have done this without you all. Thank you, again. You continue to push us to aspire to do bigger and better things for our state of Maine, and we will absolutely be continuing that this new year.
For those who have been with us all this time, including last year, let’s keep grinding. For those of you who are new in 2018, welcome to Bissell Brothers. Let’s share some beer.
Fall is a time of transition.
A fleeting moment that finds one hand grasping onto the last of summer’s safe comfort and warmth, with the other hand thrusting forward cautiously towards winter’s stark uncertainty.
Much like the consistent routine found in the dynamic change of the seasons, we are realizing consistency and embracing change. One hand rooted firmly in our operation in Portland, the other cautiously extended north to our new facility in Milo, Maine.
In these last few months, we’ve re-invested in our home in Portland: we brought on two new employees, veterans of the industry. We’ve installed two 40bbl horizontal tanks that yielded this year’s Seed and our new Lagerbier, tanks that we are now bringing on-line full time for lagers and other projects. We’ve invested in our packaging line and our lab. We’ve begun employee wellness initiatives—all of this in the effort to provide the highest quality beer and the best possible customer experience. It is your endearing support that has allowed this all to come to fruition in Portland. Thank you.
If Portland, in a sense, represents the warmth and familiarity of summer, our new home in Milo is the fresh canvas of the winter months ahead. So much promise in a world anew, with so much left still unknown. Our old 10 bbl brewhouse is installed, awaiting the inaugural Milo brewday. We’ve installed eight foeders, vessels that will bring wood-aged beers to light, along with our established and growing barrel-aging program that will call Milo its home. We’ve installed a coolship, custom engineered by Forest J. Stone, our friend and metal fabricator based right here out of Portland. Milo will be wild.
There’s no definitive timeline on Milo, and like all good stories, there is no rush to get to the end. We hope to be brewing there in the coming weeks, beers that will age and evolve in time. We will continue to build out and develop the space, and hope to be open to the public sometime next year. Meanwhile in Portland, we’ll hold onto the spirit of summer throughout the coming months and continue business as usual.
We are continuously stoked by the outpouring of support and love we feel from you: you are the catalyst that is driving us forward. Forward for the journey. Forward for the beer.
Forward for Maine.
Moving Into summer
A long blink of an eye, and the warm months land. Summer in Maine holds so much we keep close. Windows are down, spirits are high, and beers that capture the essence of summer are emptied all too quickly. Even as schedules fill and the pace of work is at a constant step, moving away from Winter's purr is never a hard task.It's crazy to think we were just settling into our new home on Thompson's Point exactly a year ago. That move seemed impossible at the time, taking every bit of our energy and focus, as well as every ounce of your support. Had we been told at the time that in twelve months we'd be undergoing yet another expansion, we simply would have laughed. Yet somehow, plans were made, and we once again find ourselves standing at the other end of a process as necessary as it was hectic.Our new 20 barrel brewhouse is a beauty. In the 14 hours it used to take to make 900 gallons of wort, we can now make over 1200! This will allow us far more time to examine and refine our process, tweaking the countless nuances so critical in the never-ending quest to make better beer. In line with our brewhouse upgrade, we have also added 3 more 40 barrel fermentors, a 40 barrel brite tank, and added capacity to our canning line. If you are seasoned to our space, you will certainly notice the new stainless. Our days at the brewery will be as busy and long as they've ever been, but at least we will have a bit more beer (about 30%!) for our beautiful state.We thank you for the unwavering support as we adapt to schedule changes. We thank you for your patience as we grow into our new production lineup. We thank for always being on the other side of this growth. Since day 1, every step forward has been because of you. You are the backbone to this life we live and the reason we're always striving to be better.With love for you. With love for the beer. With love for Maine.
IT'S BEEN TOO LONG!TO ALL YOU FOLKS THAT SIGNED UP TO RECEIVE OUR EMAILS, THANK YOU FOR HANGING TIGHT AS WE FIND OUR GROOVE IN USING THIS PLATFORM REGULARLY. THE CALM AND QUIET OF WINTER IN MAINE HAS FINALLY PROVIDED US SOME VERY NECESSARY TIME FOR REFLECTION. BETWEEN THE STRESS AND UNCERTAINTY OF MOVING OUR BREWERY AND THE DAILY GRIND OF BREW DAYS, KICKED KEGS, BROKEN PUMPS, AND AN EVER-GROWING PILE OF PAPERWORK, WE STILL FEEL THE SAME SENSE OF ENTHUSIASM, WONDER, AND PRIVELAGE WE DID THE DAY WE SOLD OUR FIRST KEG.IN DECEMBER, WE WORKED CLOSELY WITH THE LOCKER PROJECT, TOYS FOR TOTS, ANIMAL WELFARE SOCIETY, AND RUTH'S REUSABLE RESOURCES FOR A MONTH LONG "4 WEEKS OF GIVING" EVENT. WE DONATED OVER $19,000 AND WITNESSED FIRST HAND THE POWER OF GENEROSITY WITHIN OUR COMMUNITY. IN JANUARY, WE HAD A STAFF HOLIDAY PARTY. EVERYONE (EMPLOYEES, SPOUSES, KIDS, AND DOGS) CAME TOGETHER TO JUST HANG OUT. THERE WERE BOTTLES, THERE WAS PIZZA, AND SOME INCREDIBLY TENSE PING PONG SHOWDOWNS. IT'S INCREASINGLY HUMBLING TO SEE HOW OUR BBB FAMILY, IMMEDIATE AND EXTENDED, CONTINUES TO GROW, IN NUMBERS BUT EVEN MORE IN CHARACTER.EVEN IN THE QUIET OF FEBRUARY, TIME CONTINUES TO FLY. IT'S ALL TOO EASY FOR US TO FORGET TO STEP BACK AND BREATH EVERYTHING OUR SITUATION IN NOW AND AGAIN, BUT IT IS MORE IMPORTANT NOW THAN EVER. WE ARE SO, SO FORTUNATE TO BE ON THIS JOURNEY AND IT WOULD SIMPLY NOT EXIST WITHOUT ALL OF YOU. YOUR ENTHUSIASM AND SUPPORT FOR WHAT WE DO IS WHAT GETS BBB UP IN THE MORNING, KEEPS US UP AT NIGHT, AND PUSHES US TO IMPROVE EVERY SINGLE DAY. YOU GIVE US PURPOSE AND MAKE US CARE ABOUT THIS CRAFT MORE THAN WE THOUGHT . SIMPLY PUT, THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING. WE SINCERELY HOPE YOU'RE AS EXCITED TO SEE WHAT PROFOUND AND UNEXPECTED PLACES 2017 TAKES US. IN THE MEANTIME, WE WILL TRY TO KEEP THE UPDATES MORE STEADY. GRATITUDE.