Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

Updated: April 5, 2024

Friday Food Insider: After 10 years, Limerick brewery calls it quits

Beer can and glasses Courtesy / Gneiss Brewing Co. social media Gneiss Brewing Co., at 94 Patterson Road in Limerick, plans to sell the remaining kegs and cases of beer.

Gneiss Brewing Co., a Limerick brewer that specializes in German-inspired wheat beers, plans to close its doors and keg taps after more than 10 years in business.

Dustin Johnson, the owner and head of brewery operations, told Mainebiz that the decision to close was not sudden and he had been thinking about it for quite some time.

Gneiss has weathered many of the challenges COVID brought to the hospitality industry, including supply chain shortages, inflation and a tight workforce. The brewery also has had to deal with health issues among its staff, which have resulted in little help for operations and growing the business.

“We have gotten to the point where we no longer can stress ourselves out and push at the rate we were,” said Johnson.

Production ceased in November, and the last wholesale distribution pickup was in January, Johnson said. At this point, many stores and restaurants are out of Gneiss, and the brewery has only a few cases and kegs left that will be sold out of the tasting room over the next month. 

Johnson said the last day of operations is still unclear. He plans to sell the business, brewing equipment, building and land. 

Gneiss brewed its first batch of Gneiss Weiss in September 2012.  

“I had a lifelong learning in the restaurant business followed by a master's in geochemistry, effectively water chemistry,” said Johnson. “Those worlds merged in the summer of 2012 and I built Gneiss from the ground up, on 8.5 acres of family land.”

“We opened in 2013 as the 37th license in the state,” he continued. “We grew every year until COVID. We added 3,000 square feet of production in 2018. We were specializing in German ales and lagers as a way to offer the beer-drinking community of Maine something different. We carved a niche among people and quickly became a go-to option for non-IPA drinkers.

"We appreciate everyone who supported us and made Gneiss their go-to.”

Maine's beer scene

In the decade Gneiss was in business, Maine's craft beer industry more than doubled. 

As of 2022, Maine had 165 active, licensed breweries, up from 73 in 2015, according to the Maine Brewers' Guild. 

But, amid that rapid industry growth, there have been a few casualties.

In recent months, Island Dog Brewing in South Portland, Urban Farm Fermentory in Portland and Rusty Bus Brewing Co. in Lewiston all announced they planned to close. 

Sarah Bryan, the executive director of the Maine Brewers' Guild, told Mainebiz that the past year has been a challenging one for the industry. Breweries face a changing economic landscape, as well as growing competition, increases in production costs, bad weather and other obstacles. 

“It is with these qualifications in mind that many of our state's brewers in 2024 are reviewing emerging obstacles as an opportunity to reevaluate their goals and priorities for the coming seasons by ways of assessing the possibilities of business model adaptation, new investment in diversified product lines, or further expansion of retail footprints,” said Bryan. “For some, this may also include the very difficult decision to celebrate the wonderful work of their achievements to this point and to pursue the course of a new adventure.”

“While these changes to our community do indicate that new efforts must be made to iterate the most efficient and effective business strategies possible, we know that the statewide legacy of brewing has and will continue to be an essential contributor to the flavor and cultural identity of our home.

"We know that our neighbors and residents will continue to support independent breweries, that out-of-state visitors will continue to seek them out, and that locally made beer will remain an economic driver for the state of Maine,” she continued. 

What else is going on in the food world?

The Portland location of Freedom's Edge Cider opened Thursday at 31 Diamond St. The original tasting room is next to its orchard in Albion and is open from April to November.

Photo / Alexis Wells
Freedom's Edge Cider is located at 31 Diamond St. in Portland.

A first-of-its-kind establishment is coming to Congress Street in downtown Portland. Another Round, owned by Harry Sultan, will be the city’s first board game bar and cafe when it opens at 549 Congress St. in late May. The 1,3970-square-foot space will house numerous games, including classics like Monopoly and Guess Who. 

What are your thoughts about the Maine beer industry? Stay tuned for more information about the new board game bar. The Mainebiz Food Insider wants to hear from you! Contact Alexis Wells at

Sign up for Enews

Related Content


Order a PDF