Rick: With both of us previously having businesses, we’ve learned that the most important thing really is customer service and good product. It’s a great feeling and watching Melissa behind the bar dealing with customers. She’s fun and great at bringing a real sense of community to the place. It’s the type of customer service that that you don’t find a lot of places.
Melissa: One of my favorite things is opening up on Thursdays and knowing that over the next couple days I’m going to see all these people we’ve created these relationships with come in and fill up their growlers and chat. Having that group of people come in week after week is really heartwarming.
John: Our selection of beers really reflects Rick’s influence.
Rick: I’m certainly influenced by British brewing especially with the brown, which has been selling really well, and the ESB, which no one else is really doing around here. My brewing is traditional while also not being the same thing everyone else does. I do like to put my own spin on them.
John: We are also big believers in community collaboration. Rick is an excellent brewer, but sometimes we like to put out limited batches with co-brewers. Recently we had the raspberry sour with Troy Allen and there are a few more people who are very interested in coming in to brew.
We looked at several different communities and kept coming back to Gardiner. We felt very strongly about that decision. The city officials and Gardiner Main Street were a big part of that decision to buy a building here and come out of retirement. We really picked the right place, too. It’s been a nice surprise how loyal our customers from our previous businesses are. They especially have been some of our biggest cheerleaders from waiting on us to open, to rooting us on now.
Rick: I think the other thing is how support keeps growing. This is not a competitive kind of thing. The whole group from Bateau Brewing came down here and welcomed us. The Maine Craft Beer Guild reached out and asked us to join, which we’ll be doing. The brewing community truly is unlike any other business community. I think we all believe that first and foremost is to have fun. If it’s not fun, we shouldn’t be doing it. And with that being said, we definitely want to put it out there to support Sebago Distillery, support Bateau, support everyone. Gardiner has a lot going for it.
Melissa: We have to make a decision if we’re going to survive during this pandemic. If we can’t open as a tasting room, do we bring food here which allows us to open to the public? Or, do we look at canning our products and putting them out into the marketplace? With either choice, we want it to be all about the beer. There are too many good restaurants here. Why compete with that when you can showcase it? Our original plan was to be a place that customers could bring food from other establishments in town and sit down to drink with it. However, that’s not possible with current regulations.