Being in the top 10 breweries in Maine isn’t a guarantee of continued growth. In 2017, four of the current top 10 breweries saw their production drop.

Geary’s held the No. 2 spot in 2006 and held the No. 6 spot 10 years later. Now under new owners, Maine’s oldest craft brewer is at No. 9.

When Robin and Alan Lapoint – the new owners of Geary’s – stepped into the brewery in March of 2017, it was quiet. The fermenters were mostly empty and they needed to order grain to get a new batch ready.

A year later, with those basic needs sated, Maine’s oldest brewery is showing signs of rebirth.

Robin Lapoint proudly shows off the new 16-ounce cans for a hefeweizen and the company’s New England-style IPA. There are even some bottles of bourbon barrel-aged ale. And that’s just the start of the changes at the brewery.

“I feel like this is going to feel new for about five years, because with every step we make, there are still more steps to take and new things to develop and really make a difference,” she said.

Still, the picture is not entirely rosy. Geary’s production dropped 21.2 percent in 2017. Production at Geary’s is down 68 percent from its all-time high in 2008.

Lapoint said it took a while to get the brewery back up to speed last year, but there are signs of a turnaround. She points to a strong first quarter, with sales going up thanks to a strong few months at Hannaford. And though production has dropped, Geary’s is making a profit again.

“It will take time to reverse all that loss for sure,” she said. “At the same time, more breweries are coming on all the time … so it’s challenging, but I think we’re doing a good job. Beyond what people look at in terms of barrels, this business is becoming more profitable and soluble every day.”

The plan is simple. Keep making stalwarts like Geary’s Pale Ale and London Porter. That’s what the brewery’s longtime fans want. But the brewery wants to reach out to new drinkers, hence the 16-ounce cans and barrel-aged beers.

“We have to take care of those loyal, loyal, loyal drinkers, restaurants and bars, but we have to find new followers, and the new following for everyone today is variety,” Lapoint said. “We have people that have stuck with us for up to 30 years, but that’s not the new drinkers.”

The Lapoints also own Strainrite, a Lewiston company that makes industrial filtration equipment used by breweries around the world.

It will take time to turn Geary’s around, but that’s fine with the Lapoints. They’re patient. Robin Lapoint says she is a “steward of this brand.”

While they expect to make money off Geary’s, the Lapoints see their ownership as protecting a key part of Maine’s manufacturing history.

“These jobs are important,” said Lapoint. “The history we have here is important for the city of Portland and the state of Maine.”

James Patrick can be contacted at 791-6382 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: mesofunblog

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.