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Luke Livingston, the founder and president of Baxter Brewing Co., wrote in a LinkedIn post on Monday that he will retire Sept. 13 to “find my next adventure.”
Baxter, founded in 2010 and located in Lewiston’s historic Bates Mill, claims to be the first brewery in New England to can all of its beer because it’s sustainable and doesn’t require a can opener.
“I think, like many entrepreneurs, the true thrill of this whole thing for me was in startup; was in creating something completely new,” he wrote. “But similarly, I don’t sit still well. And after 10 years, it’s time to find my next adventure.”
Operations manager Jenn Lever will step into the role as president. The two attended Edward Little High School in Auburn, with Livingston graduating in 2003 and Lever in 2004, according to brewery spokesman Adam Platz. Livingston grew up in Auburn.
Reached by text on Scarborough Beach on Monday afternoon, where he was celebrating his son’s sixth birthday, Livingston, 34, said he has been planning his transition for the past couple years.
“I’m just ready for a fresh start,” he said, adding that his future plans include, “Nothing yet.”
Livingston said he could not comment about whether he will remain an owner of Baxter. Livingston will not have a day-to-day role going forward at Baxter, but he hasn’t done that for a couple years.
“Luke will always be a friend and influence at Baxter,” said Lever. “He’ll always be a part of who we are.”
He also will be stepping down as board treasurer of the Maine Brewers’ Guild, a position he has held since 2017.
Sean Sullivan, executive director of the Maine Brewers’ Guild, said Livingston offered expertise to the guild and support for younger brewers. Sullivan said his choice to put beer into cans was a game-changer.
“It’s hard to think how quickly opinions have changed, but when [Baxter] started it was thought only ‘cheap beer’ would be put in cans,” Sullivan said. “Clearly, today most craft beer, and many other premium beverages, go into cans”
Sullivan credited Livingston with being “responsible for a huge reduction in carbon footprint in our industry.”
Reaction to his departure poured in on LinkedIn.
“Baxter has done amazing things for the community in Lewiston, Auburn and throughout Maine! Many great things for the beer industry too. It is loved by so many. Thank you! Good luck in your next adventure!” wrote Sarah Stanley, director of the Kennebunk Land Trust.
Livingston’s departure date, Sept. 13, coincides with Baxter celebrating the 100,000th barrel of Stowaway Indian Pale Ale. The two events will be celebrated at a party that day, to which Livingston invited everyone in his LinkedIn post.
He said his favorite memories at Baxter are people.
“Easily all of the people I’ve met, the accounts I’ve gotten to visit and the tours of our space I’ve gotten to give thousands of people — bands, celebrities, politicians,” he said. “The network I’ve met here in Maine and northern New England has been beyond anything I could have imagined.”
In his LinkedIn post signoff he wrote, “Please don’t hesitate to say hi if you see me out and about; I’d love to have a pint together … Cheers!”
Watch: Here’s a look at Maine’s bustling craft beer scene