PORTLAND, Maine — Eimskip and the Maine Brewers’ Guild (MBG) announced a first of its kind project to facilitate a global exchange of beer, brewing knowledge, and camaraderie between Maine brewers and brewers from ports across the North Atlantic that are served by Eimskip’s shipping fleet.
Surrounded by pallets of malt, kegs of Maine craft beer and giant Eimskip shipping containers, Sean Sullivan, executive director of MBG, David Carlson, founder of Marshall Wharf Brewing Co. and co-creator of the Maine Beer Box, and Andrew Haines, director of sales for Eimskip, shared the details of the partnership. MBG will bring together Maine’s brewers to launch a multi-year project based around a global exchange of beer via a branded shipping container that features more than 50 beer taps, and is dubbed the Maine Beer Box aboard Eimskip’s ships.
“Maine brewers are committed to leading the craft beer industry nationally – and that means taking bold action to promote our brands, learning from the global brewing community, and working with strategic partners to reach markets around the globe,” said Sean Sullivan, executive director of the Maine Brewers’ Guild.
Part marketing, part goodwill trade mission, and part economic development initiative, the Maine Beer Box will be filled with Maine craft beer and brought to Iceland in year one (2017), where the beer will be offered to the general public – poured directly out of taps fabricated into the side of the shipping container – at a beer festival in Reykjavik on June 24th. In the coming years, the Maine Beer Box will visit each of Eimskip’s ports throughout the North Atlantic, bringing quality beer from Maine to beer brewers and consumers.
“TheBrewers’ Guild’s initiative to connect markets within our network is the epitome of how businesses can capitalize on Eimskip’s presence in Maine,”said Gylfi Sigfusson, CEO of Eimskip.
David Carlson, founder of Marshall Wharf Brewing Co. in Belfast, Maine, and co-creator of the Maine Beer Box, spoke about the opportunities the exchange would bring to Maine, and how the initiative was built around forming relationships.
“The American craft beer industry is known for its collaborative and mutually supportive spirit,” said Carlson. “This effort shows how Maine brewers not only work with one another, but are proactively sharing this positive, collaborative spirit that has become the hallmark of our industry across the globe.”
A number of Maine brewers have already made trips over to Iceland to meet with all of Iceland’s brewers, introduce them to the concept, and begin to explore opportunities to collaborate. To complete the exchange, Icelandic brewers will share their craft beer with Maine via the same container, where it will then be poured at the Maine Brewers’ Guild Summer Session beer festival on July 29th, 2017 at Thompson’s Point in Portland.
“While our Icelandic heritage defines the Einstök brand, our goal from day one was to connect with the broader world of beer enthusiasts and to share the Icelandic adventure,” said Gudjon Gudmundsson, CEO of Einstök Brewery, based in Akureyri, Iceland. “The event on June 24th with the Maine Brewers is an ideal way to share ideas and further that conversation.”
As an industry, Maine craft beer continues to make waves, and position itself at the next major Maine economy. In 2016, it brought in more than $220 million in to Maine, and employed more than 1,600 people. Senator Angus King remarked on the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit found among Maine brewers.
“Thanks to the hard work and entrepreneurial spirit of our brewers, the Maine craft beer industry has grown into a powerful and successful force in our state, combining creativity with passion to spur job growth and strengthen the economy,” said Senator King. “Now the Maine Beer Box is taking that success to the next level by introducing our beer to the world. I’m excited for this new partnership, which is another symbol of Maine peoples’ ingenuity, and look forward to watching it flourish in the years to come.”
Noting the complex nature of arranging an international beer exchange, Sullivan recognized the many organizations and agencies who helped make this initiative possible.
“This is about leveraging all the energy around Maine as a North Atlantic trade hub, and inspiring not only Maine brewers, but all companies around New England and beyond to see Maine as the entrance to the global marketplace,” said Sullivan.
Recognized partners include Dana Eidsness, Director of the Maine North Atlantic Development Office of MITC, David Bernhardt, Maine Department of Transportation commissioner, and Ross Hickey, director of the Maine Regulatory Training and Ethics Center at the University of Southern Maine, each offered comments on their organizations support of the Maine Beer Box.
About Maine Brewers’ Guild
Maine Brewers’ Guild is a nonprofit, 501(c)(6) organization dedicated to promoting and protecting the craft beer industry in Maine. Since 1986, Maine has been at the forefront of the craft beer movement. As of January 1, 2017, Maine is home to over 90 breweries and is consistently recognized as one of the best destinations in the USA for beer tourists. Learn more at www.mainebrewersguild.org
Eimskip is a leading transportation company in the North Atlantic with connections to international markets and is specialized in worldwide freight forwarding services, with the vision of providing excellence in transportation solutions and services.