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Updated: April 29, 2024 30th Anniversary

From craft beer to lobster: 10 Maine consumer brands with staying power

From warhorses like L.L.Bean to newer names like Sea Bags and Luke’s Lobster, a growing number of Maine brands are recognizable far beyond the state’s borders.

What makes Maine brands stand out, says Nancy Marshall, CEO of Marshall Communications, is that they resonate in the hearts and minds of the people who make them and those who buy them — and sometimes even their competitors.

“Maine brands must be authentic and genuine like the state itself,” she says. “Our state doesn’t have any tolerance for anything phony or inauthentic, so a strong Maine brand needs to resonate with its community through honest, genuine, direct communications and relationships.”

To mark the 30th anniversary of Mainebiz, we compiled a list of 10 home-grown consumer brands with character and cachet, starting with three craft beer heavyweights. Paying homage to his industry forerunners, Tom Ruff, founder and CEO of Portland’s Orange Bike Brewing Co., says, “We honor their legacy while forging new frontiers in craft brewing, recognizing their pivotal role in paving the way for the next generation of brewers.”


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Geary’s Pale Ale was first brewed in 1986 by Portland's D.L. Geary Brewing Co. Founded by the late David and Karen Geary, the craft brewery was the first in New England in the post-Prohibition era and only the 13th in the United States. Owned by Robin and Alan Lapoint since 2017, the brewery still makes the Original Pale Ale, a classic British-style malty beverage.


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Maine’s largest brewer, founded by Rob Tod in 1995, specializes in Belgian-style beers led by Allagash White, its award-wining hazy concoction of oats, malted wheat and raw wheat. Allagash White won its first gold medal at the World Beer Cup in 1988, and Todd is a 2019 James Beard Award winner for Outstanding Wine, Spirits or Beer Producer.


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Anchored in Portland’s Old Port, Shipyard Brewing Co. was founded in 1994 by Fred Forsley and master brewer Alan Pugsley. With 52,500 barrels produced in 2022, Shipyard is Maine’s second-largest brewer, making year-round beers and seasonal faves like Pumpkinhead Ale, a spiced wheat ale often served in a pint glass. Shipyard also owns the Capt’n Eli’s Soda brand.

Stonewall Kitchen

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A Maine food brand with 1991 New Hampshire roots, Stonewall Kitchen, which moved to York in 2000, boasts an ever-expanding pantry of specialty foods and home goods from the traditional to the exotic. Fun fact: The company has purchased 8 million wild blueberries over the years to make its best-selling Wild Maine Blueberry Jam, the product that started it all.


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Leon Leonwood Bean

Maine Hunting Shoe inventor Leon Leonwood Bean founded L.L.Bean in 1912. Today, the family-owned business makes 500,000 Bean Boots a year in Maine and operates 58 stores in 19 states, along with 25 stores in Japan and 13 in Canada. Every year, over three million people visit the Freeport flagship store, which is open 24/7 and is undergoing a $50 million revamp.

Luke’s Lobster

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Luke’s Lobster, founded in 2009 by Luke Holden and Ben Conniff with a single restaurant in New York City, now operates eateries in a dozen states as well as Japan and Singapore. The name has put Maine on the map as the world’s lobster-roll capital, spreading its wings — er, claws — in 2024 to Boston’s Fenway Park and New York’s Rockefeller Center.

Sea Bags

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Sea Bags, a Portland-based maker and retailer of totes and other accessories crafted out of recycled sail cloth, has 50 stores in 15 states, to be joined by five more stores in 2024. Founded in 1999, the company has saved over 1.5 million pounds of material from going into landfills, sponsors a women’s sailing team, and scored a multiyear licensing deal with the National Football League in 2024.

Tom’s of Maine

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Tom’s of Maine is a national brand of natural toothpastes, soaps and other personal care products based in Kennebunk. Tom and Kate Chappell founded the company in 1970 and sold a majority stake to Colgate-Palmolive in 2006. Ten percent of profits are donated to nonprofit organizations that support the environment, health and well-being, and disaster relief.

Burt’s Bees

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Burt Shavitz and Roxanne Quimby founded Burt’s Bees in in 1984, when she started making candles from leftover beeswax in a one-room schoolhouse in Dover-Foxcroft. Based in Durham, N.C., since 1991, and acquired by the Clorox Co. in 2007, the earth-friendly brand of natural skin-care products remains closely associated with Maine’s natural attributes. A lot of that stems from Roxanne Quimby’s donation of 87,000 acres of land near Baxter State Park to the federal government and a $20 million endowment that paved the way for the creation of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in 2016.

Shaw and Tenney

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Based in Orono since 1895, Shaw and Tenney claims to make the world’s finest oars and paddles, all sourced from Maine wood. Neil and Jennifer Gutekunst, who bought the business in 2023 from Steve Holt and Nancy Foster-Holt, aim to continue the heritage. Digging up a 1971 price list, Neil Gutekunst reports that ash oars cost 8 cents per foot and paddles were $1.50 back then.

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