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June 7, 2017

Maine Beer Box on its way to Iceland

Photo / Benjamin Moore David Carlson of Marshall Wharf Brewing Co. pours the first beer from he Maine Beer Box, a shipping container retrofitted with 78 tap handles from 40 Maine brewers that's now making its way to Iceland.

The Maine Beer Box, a shipping container retrofitted with 78 tap handles from 40 Maine brewers, headed off to Reykjavik, Iceland, on June 3.

The Forecaster reported The Beer Box is a collaboration of several Maine companies, first conceived by David Carlson of Marshall Wharf Brewing in Belfast. In collaboration with the Maine Brewers’ Guild, the project took almost three years to become a reality.

Its arrival is timed for Iceland’s largest beer festival on June 24. 

The Beer Box will return to Maine carrying beer from Iceland’s craft breweries in time for Portland’s Summer Session Beer Festival on July 29.

The guild’s executive director, Sean Sullivan, told The Forecaster the Beer Box is a way for small Maine brewers to gain exposure to an international audience, for the possibility of developing an export market.

"This is about using cost-based geography," Andrew Haines, director of sales for Eimskip, a partner in the project, told Mainebiz in March. "Europe has 300 million people, while the Northeast United States has about 50 million. Dublin, Ireland, is as close to Maine as New York City [in travel time]. That's where the idea [for the beer box] came from."

Maine craft beer had a statewide economic impact of $228 million in 2016 and employed 2,177, including multiplier effects from related businesses, a recent study on the industry by the University of Maine School of Economics and the Maine Brewers' Guild found. 

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