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Updated: July 30, 2018 Fact Book 2018

10 innovative products produced in Maine

Maine is well known for lobster rolls, whoopie pies and wild blueberries. But the state’s Yankee ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit combined for some innovative and highly prized items, from drum sticks to energy bars to veterinary tests.


Photo / Courtesy Vic Firth Co.

Drum sticks (Vic Firth Co., Newport)

Started by Boston Symphony Orchestra tympanist (and Sanford native) Vic Firth, this company bills itself as the world’s largest producer of drumsticks and mallets, producing 12 million sticks a year. It supplies classical artists, jazz performers, marching bands, Roots percussionist Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Phish drummer Jon Fishman.


Photo / Courtesy Dove Tail Bats

Baseball bats (Dove Tail Bats, Shirley Mills)

When fans think of Major League Baseball bats, they typically think of the Louisville Slugger. But Dove Tail, which produces 30,000 bats a year out of native ash and birch, supplies all 30 teams. About 75 MLB players use the bats, including Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, who hit a home run at Fenway Park on a Dove Tail bat.


Photo / Courtesy IDEXX

Veterinary tests (IDEXX Laboratories Inc., Westbrook)

IDEXX developed its SNAP Test in 1992 to assess the health status of cats, dogs, horses, poultry and livestock. The tests screen for 15 diseases, including Lyme, heartworm, Anaplasmosis, feline leukemia virus, giardia and canine parvovirus, among others. Today, IDEXX sells 30 million SNAP tests a year globally.


Photo / Courtesy R.e.d.d.

Energy bars (R.e.d.d. Superfood Energy Bars, Portland)

R.e.d.d. traces its origins to founder Alden Blease’s days at the University of Maine, refueling on a bag of bulk food bought at a health-food store. That bag of goodies eventually became R.e.d.d. energy bar, with the tagline “All killer, no filler.” It’s sold in supermarkets and convenience stores as well as Amazon.


Photo / Courtesy Grain Surfboards

Wooden surfboards (Grain Surfboards, York)

Grain Surfboards started as a reaction to the surfing industry’s dependence on fossil fuels and chemicals to make the foam, resin and epoxies that go into a standard surfboard. Fastening cedar parts together using boatbuilding techniques, and a little glue and epoxy, Grain (and its students) produce a surfboard that’s easier on the environment, fun to ride and a work of art.


Photo / Courtesy Brant & Cochran

Axes (Brant & Cochran, South Portland)

Brant & Cochran carries on a tradition of handcrafted axes. At one time, Maine had 300 axe makers. Today, the number may be under a half dozen, but Brant & Cochran is forging the steel and shaping the axe handles from a blacksmith’s shop in South Portland.


Photo / Courtesy Hodgdon Yachts

Yacht tenders (Hodgdon Yachts, Boothbay Harbor)

Hodgdon builds what could be described as a yacht to get to a (much larger) yacht. Its Venetian Superyacht Limousine Tender gets into a rarified market. The boatbuilder, working with Michael Peters Yacht Design, has a luxury motor boat that is high-performance where it counts, with an interior that combines the feel of an old-time limousine with the interior of a modern luxury car.


Photo / Tim Greenway

Mushrooms (North Spore Mushroom Co., Westbrook)

North Spore started out in a cheap rented garage, as its founders like to say. Its products include a trumpet mushroom-growing kit available on Amazon for $25. This year alone, it won both “Greenlight Maine” and the “Launchpad” pitch contests, generating $150,000 in startup capital in the process.


Photo / Courtesy Sea Bags

Bags from recycled sails (Sea Bags, Portland)

Sea Bags has been at this for several years, salvaging old sails to make distinctive bags. Now, the company is growing its retail presence, selling its bags in 17 Sea Bags stores along the Eastern seaboard, from Freeport to as far south as Annapolis, Md.


Photo / Courtesy Flowfold

Minimalist outdoor gear (Flowfold, Peaks Island)

Flowfold started out by making wallets out of ballistic nylon webbing, but has now branched into backpacks, bags, duffle bags, dog leashes and other products. Product are sold through L.L.Bean and on its website.

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