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July 28, 2017

Revving up for rum production in Gardiner

Craft beer may be king in Maine, but could a rum revolution be brewing?

Gardiner-based Sebago Lake Distillery LLC is "very close" to perfecting its first batch of rum, Dave Tomer, one of the company's investors, told the Kennebec Journal.

Tomer said estimates the sugar cane-derived liquor will be ready for market in October, and that longer term the goal is to lure visitors to Sebago Lake's tasting room and make an impact on tourism.

"We're not chasing the almighty dollar," he told the paper. "We're chasing a way of life."

Gardiner, about six miles down the Kennebec River from Augusta, has been courting businesses like Sebago Lake Brewing to boost economic growth after seeing its population decline from 6,685 in 1970 to 5,675 in 2014.

It has sought to establish itself as a food and drink production hub after Gardiner Growth Initiative targeted the sector as strategic.

Sebago Lake Distillery is among several Gardiner newcomers that have received federally funded Community Development Block Grants.

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