A dream nearly eight years in the making finally became a reality last month, when Geaghan Brothers Brewing Company purchased a 1.3-acre waterfront lot from the city of Bangor, and broke ground on a brand new production facility adjacent to its original pub and restaurant off Main Street.
The deal, funded in part by Bangor Savings Bank and finalized on Dec. 3, 2021, will see Geaghan Brothers construct a much larger facility than its present brewing site in Brewer, which will close in March alongside its Brewer tap room.
“Having all of our operations in one location will make everything much, much more efficient,” said Andrew Geaghan, co-owner of the brewery and restaurant with his uncles, Peter and Pat Geaghan. “We’re really sad to leave Brewer, because they have been so accommodating and welcoming. But this is a huge step for us, and we’re incredibly excited about it.”
In addition to the production facility, the expansion will also see Geaghan’s construct a large patio for the restaurant and bar to allow for greatly expanded outdoor seating during the warmer months.
Andrew Geaghan said that all brewing production will be moved to Bangor by mid-March, and the company hopes to have the new patio ready sometime this summer.
The Geaghan family had actually discussed expanding into the lot next door to the restaurant even before the company moved beer production to Brewer in 2015. But back then, Andrew Geaghan knew they weren’t ready to take on such a big financial risk, so the project sat on the back burner for another five years.
“We were still unproven back then,” Andrew Geaghan said. “It would have been way too big of a risk that could have put the whole thing in jeopardy. We had to learn a whole lot more in order to be ready for it. This project has never died for us, though. It’s just been put on hold.”
In early 2020, however, the Geaghans were finally ready to return to the plan after a few years of explosive growth in beer sales, and began having conversations with Bangor Savings Bank about taking out a loan to fund the new facility’s construction. In February of that year, Geaghan Brothers received approval from the Bangor City Council to purchase the land.
At that point the project was within weeks of being finalized.
“Then, boom, it’s a global pandemic, and we had to shut our doors,” Andrew Geaghan said. “In some regards, it was a blessing, since we had the cash reserved for the project, and that helped us through the pandemic. But all our plans just slipped through our fingers.”
After more than a year of pandemic uncertainty, by fall 2021, the family was ready to try again. As one of the largest craft breweries in Maine, it has been bursting at the seams at its Brewer facility, so an expansion had become increasingly necessary — despite all of the pandemic’s ups and downs.
“We’ve recreated our business model month after month for almost two years now. We feel like we can keep functioning in a healthy way going forward,” Andrew Geaghan said. “And we have really had overwhelming support from our community. That’s what gave us the strength to be able to move forward.”
Geaghan’s, which started as John Geaghan’s Roundhouse Restaurant in 1974, was a Bangor institution long before it began brewing beer in 2011. Andrew Geaghan is keenly aware of his business’ legacy in the community, and believes this expansion will further cement that.
“We feel like we have changed a ton over the years, without really changing. I think Bangor has done that, too,” he said. “We’ve kept our identity, while modernizing and expanding and growing in really cool ways. We’re just trying to keep up with Bangor, really, and invest back in the community that has given us so much over the years.”