BAR HARBOR, Maine — With more than 20 years experience in brewing and selling beer, Atlantic Brewing Company has been around long enough to avoid being called the new guy.
But the locally based beer brewer is expanding its offerings and distribution area, so it’s not afraid of having its products referred to as being among the most recent arrivals around.
Its new brew, which Atlantic plans to start bottling this year, is called New Guy IPA, appropriately enough. And the new areas where some of its more popular beers will be available on draught include Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York City and Philadelphia.
Doug Maffucci, who owns and operates Atlantic Brewing with his wife, Barbara Patten, said Thursday that he has found a logistics company that will distribute kegs of Atlantic’s beer out-of-state, which has never been done before. Atlantic brews the equivalent of about 55,000 cases of beer each year, he said, just enough to have distribution firms interested.
“It’s quite a quantum leap in production,” Maffucci said.
The move means the company will have to increase its production by about 15 percent right off the bat, he said, at both its brewing facilities in the local village of Town Hill and at the Shipyard Brewery in Portland, where Atlantic has its own brewing equipment and uses Shipyard’s bottler.
Maffucci said he hopes that expanding the company’s draft distribution area will result in a 20 percent increase in Atlantic’s beer production. He declined to cite specific revenue earnings or targets.
“Twenty percent is a lot,” he said.
He said the company will begin by selling kegs of its award-winning Blueberry Ale out of state and hopes to follow soon with kegs of Cadillac Mountain Stout. The two varieties are among the company’s most popular products.
With the increase, he’s adding the equivalent of about three full-time positions to his permanent work force of roughly a dozen people and will brew beer more consistently year-round. Since Maffucci founded the company in 1991, Atlantic Brewing’s output has been largely seasonal, which in large part has been a reflection of the seasonal tourism industry in Maine. He said he employs more than 30 people during the summer.
But the brewer said doing business in Maine has its advantages, too, especially for beer makers. He said when he approaches out-of-state retailers about selling his products, they are eager to give it a try.
“All of us [microbrewers] are growing vis-a-vis the major [breweries],” he said. “Maine enjoys a very good reputation for its quality of beers.”
Atlantic brews about 15 or so different types of beer, about a dozen of which are marketed as Atlantic Brewing products while the rest are labeled as products of Bar Harbor Brewing Co., which Maffucci bought in 2009. Some of the varieties are specialty ales or lagers that are brewed in small batches and are available only seasonally.
According to Tom Mortimer, who works in sales and product development for the company, the expansion of the company’s draught distribution area is happening at the same time that it is redesigning its labels and adding a new beer to its bottled offerings.
New Guy IPA was available last year in draft form at limited locations in Maine, Mortimer said Wednesday, but this year it also will be bottled and sold at retail stores, he said. Atlantic has been selling bottled beer in states as far away as Ohio and Maryland — about 5,000 total cases per year — for the past three years.
“IPAs are huge right now,” he said.
The addition of New Guy to its roster of bottled beers is expected to help Atlantic boost the out-of-state sales of its bottled products, too, according to Mortimer. He said that ABC’s bottle sales in Massachusetts alone increased by 100 percent in 2011.
Mortimer said that, each winter, Atlantic typically produces only 10-15 batches of beer between the beginning of January and early March. The past few months, however, the company has been producing at close to full capacity.
“This year, we’re up over 30 batches,” he said.
Despite the company’s expansion, Mortimer said Atlantic plans to maintain its status as a microbrewer. He said there is always room for more new products in the microbrew market, which has been doing well consistently for more than the past 20 years.
“We’re just looking for our little corner of the market,” he said.
Follow BDN reporter Bill Trotter on Twitter at @billtrotter.