That bright glare to the north of Portland isn’t the Northern Lights, it’s Bangor brewery Geaghan Bros., which rocketed onto the statewide beer scene in 2016. Geaghan Bros. shot into the top 10 producers of beer in the state last year as its overall production went up 87.6 percent. The eighth-largest brewery in the state in 2016, it is close behind longtime stalwarts Geary’s and Gritty’s.

Brewmaster Andy Geaghan laughed when he was asked what it’s like to be riding a rocket ship; that’s not a bad analogy, he said.

“It’s exciting and scary every day,” Geaghan said. “It’s a testament to way, way, way more than me. I am nothing if not supported by one of the best crews that could be assembled. Our team is a young team of go-getters that show up every day and want to make the best product we can and market it in real and authentic ways that work. …

Much of the skyrocketing growth being sustained by Geaghan Bros. Brewing Co. is far north of Portland. Andy Geaghan describes his company’s success as “an opportunity-based growth.”

“This year we’re going to slow down that pace a bit but we’re still looking at more expansion this year. It’s been fun but it’s also been a lot of days on the road, a lot of early mornings and late nights in the brewery getting product out.”

Portland-area beer fans can be forgiven if they’re not overly familiar with the brewery. Geaghan said 50 percent of their beer is sold in Bangor, and areas north and east of Bangor. Though some of their beers are available in Hannaford supermarkets, it’s the draft lines and bottle shops far away from Portland that are powering the growth, Geaghan said.

And it all just kind of worked out this way. Geaghan’s family has owned and operated a pub in Bangor for more than 40 years. Late in 2011, they installed a little brewery that could produce 155 gallons of beer at a time. It made 1,166 gallons that first year.

Then other restaurants around Bangor wanted Geaghan Bros. beer. Retail stores wanted to sell their beer. In 2015 the company opened a new brewery across the river in Brewer and started pumping out more beer to meet demand. Geaghan says it was an organic growth spurt.

“It’s never been a targeted strategy, it’s been an opportunity-based growth. … I think that’s where sustained growth is going to come,” he said. “I feel like we could double our size again this year and sell every bit of it this year, but where does that put us in future years? Growth right now needs to be really well-thought-out and based on quality and consistency that people are looking for in brands.”

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