Portland’s Industrial Way is a curious case of brewery incubation, or at least, the building settled at the address One Industrial Way is, to be exact. To date, the building’s acted as the launching point for six Maine breweries, and it sits in the shadow of the city’s most iconic brewery, Allagash.
“I could probably throw a baseball from my front door into their parking lot,” says Foundation Brewing’s Joel Mahaffey, who opened up shop at One Industrial Way last February with co-founder John Bonney. “They’re always present and very good neighbors. Allagash has really set the tone for others to follow.”
Those “others” are an impressive lineup of breweries that have cycled through the 12-bay industrial warehouse just a block from Allagash in the city’s northwest corner, earning the building nicknames like One IndustriALE Way, Brewer’s Row and Maine’s craft beer incubator.
It started in 2009, when Maine Beer Co. set up shop in Bay 3 of the building. A year later, Rising Tide Brewing took up residence in Bay 2. And in 2010, the now-defunct Bull Jagger Brewing opened there as well. But while Maine Beer and Rising Tide have since moved on, a new generation of breweries has moved in, including Austin Street Brewery, Bissell Brothers Brewing and Foundation. Naturally, the building’s become a destination for local beer geeks, as well as visiting drinkers who’ve heard of its short, but storied, legacy.
“The atmosphere is very vibrant; it’s a scene out here,” says Mahaffey. “People make an afternoon trip to see us, Allagash, Bissell Brothers and Austin Street.”
On weekends, drinkers can mosey from one brewery to the next, without walking more than 100 yards between each tasting room. At Foundation, five beers pour from faucets inside its tiny taproom, including the brewery’s flagship saison Eddy and the hoppier farmhouse IPA Blaze; two rotating seasonals and one small-batch, brewery-exclusive pour (like a hibiscus saison) fill out the rest of the lineup. The brewery also makes a point to shut down production on the weekends, allowing visitors to wander the brewery with pint in hand, and even battle it out over a game of cornhole.
While there might be pressure to live up to former inhabitants like Maine and Rising Tide, which have grown into regional craft beer stars, the building’s culture has evolved with the new occupants.
“All of us here have really owned our bays as our own space,” says Mahaffey. “That said, those breweries that used to be here were very generous with their time when we were opening. We have a good relationship with them.”
But when asked whether Foundation might one day aspire to graduating into a larger space like its predecessors, Mahaffey was hesitant:
“I’m not opposed to moving if reality dictates that. But the space is working extremely well and we have great neighbors. So, no, I’m not eager to leave.”
Nestled in the heart of an established beer scene—and one of the most interesting craft beer streets in the country—that’s a very understandable position.