Posted by Alan Nye
Cole Smith (photo at right) introduced Russell Voss, co-founder with Chris Ventimiglia, of NU Brewery (pronounced “New”) in New Gloucester, Maine. Russell told the story of how he and Chris were each making beer at home and when Russell tried what Chris had made, Russell thought it tasted just the way beer was supposed to. When Chris showed him the medals and awards he’d won for his home brew, a partnership was soon born between the friends.
Russell explained that despite the IPA beer craze here in Maine and certain other parts of the country, 80% of the world drinks light lagers. Instead of starting a brewery to quench just local tastes, they decided to fill a gap in the market and make craft light lagers – something more than just the similar tasting Bud Light, Miller Lite and Coors Light that you typically see advertised.
After 4 years of searching for the perfect location, buying 8 acres of land, retrofitting a commercial building (at right), investing in equipment, numerous delays and missteps caused by CMP and experimenting with various brews, they opened their NU Brewery on June 22, 2019 with 7 beers, including their flagship: Craft American Light Lager. They have already added an 8th beer with 3 more coming soon. Russell remarked with pride that his partner in the business, Chris, is a genius at brewing.
Throughout the beer-making process Russell requires that NU Brewery demand quality from beginning to finish. He emphasized that it starts with great water they get from their own private well. Their goal is to return only water back to the land and they are scrupulous about not using plastic whenever possible – even going to the extent of using compostable 6-pack rings that when added to water become fish food.
Russell said that he and Chris received nothing but support from the local town in going through the planning process. He said that it takes a lot of work to make a successful business and he was often asked during the arduous process why he didn’t just give up. Russell smiled when he said that “grit is important.”
Russell ended by inviting everyone to come to the newly opened tasting room to try out their offerings and I, for one, plan to take him up on his invitation.
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(Photo: President Amy Chipman and Russell Voss.)