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March 6, 2019

Maine brewers forge U.K. partnership to tap new market overseas

Courtesy / Rising Tide Brewing Co. Rising Tide Brewing Co. loads up a shipment of its Maine Island Trail Ale to send off to the United Kingdom, in a collaboration with Beer52, a craft beer subscription service headquartered in Scotland.

Rising Tide Brewing Co. and other brewers are forging a new market overseas, thanks in part to Maine Brewers’ Guild’s “Maine Beer Box” international marketing efforts.

Rising Tide announced it is shipping thousands of cases of beer to the United Kingdom this week, in collaboration with Beer52, a craft beer subscription service headquartered in Scotland.

Other Maine breweries featured in the Beer52 offering will include Baxter Brewing Co., Sebago Brewing Co., Foundation Brewing Co. and Geary Brewing Co., according to a March 5 news release.

Beer52 will be featuring all Maine-made craft beers in an upcoming monthly offering to its mail-order customers in the U.K.

The opportunity to be featured by Beer52 arose from the guild’s international marketing efforts. In 2017, the guild converted a refrigerated shipping container into a giant “kegerator,” dubbed the Maine Brew Box. In partnership with Eimskip, the Maine Beer Box has been shipped to beer festivals in Iceland and England, in 2017 and 2018.

“While we were at the Leeds Beer Festival with the Maine Beer Box last fall, we met the buyer for Beer52,” Heather Sanborn, co-owner of Rising Tide, said in the release. “We were intrigued by the idea of shipping our beer across the Atlantic — in refrigerated containers — and then having it quickly go out to British consumers through a subscription model, while it is still super fresh.”

Callum Stewart, the beer buyer at Beer52, added: "The Maine Beer Box was a great opportunity to sample. It was also an advantage to try so many beers from one state in the same place, and speak to the brewers themselves who had attended the festival. The Maine Beer Box showed me both the strength and depth of the craft beer scene in Maine."

After attending the beer festival and a networking event held by the Maine Brewers' Guild, Stewart was able to pick up the conversation with Rising Tide when they returned home and start building the subscription box for Beer52's members.

“It’s been a long process with the beers finally landing in the U.K. in March, to be distributed to our members over a four week period,” Stewart said.

Rising Tide plans to send its Maine Island Trail Ale and Ishmael copper ale to the U.K.

The Maine Island Trail Ale is typically released domestically on the first Wednesday of April each year, since it was released in 2013.

“This year, we made a whole bunch of fresh MITA a month early so that we could share it with beer lovers on the other side of the Atlantic,” Sanborn said.

A portion of the proceeds from the brew go each year to the Maine Island Trail Association, a nonprofit organization that provides stewardship to Maine's wild islands.

Founded in 2010, Rising Tide is an independent, family-owned brewery in Portland’s East Bayside neighborhood.

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