Skip to main content

The Story of Allagash Brewing Co.

A trip down memory lane

From small beginnings as a one-person brewery in the corner of a warehouse, to a destination brewery made up of more than 100 passionate people—here’s the full story of how Allagash Brewing Company came to be the awarded, innovative, and purpose-driven company that it is today.

Our Story

1995 - One Brewery. One Employee.

In 1995, Rob Tod opened a brewery. The year prior, he worked at Otter Creek Brewery—doing everything from washing kegs, to cleaning tanks, to brewing beer. Rob rented a spot in the corner of a warehouse in an industrial park and called it Allagash Brewing Company.

Rob Tod - One Employee

1995 - Yankee Ingenuity

Over the next couple months, Rob literally welded together a 15-barrel brewing system and jackhammered a few drains into the floor. After a couple pilot batches, he started brewing in earnest. He wanted to start with one beer, and one beer only: a Belgian-style wheat beer called Allagash White.

The first two employees Allagash Brewing Company

1996 - What's Wrong With This Beer?

At first, beer drinkers didn’t really know what to think of Allagash White. It was nothing like the clear, crisp lagers they’d been drinking for years. It was hazy. It was brewed with spices (coriander and Curacao orange peel). Luckily, once people started to get it, they came back to Allagash White again and again.

1998 - Allagash White Wins Gold

Allagash White wins its first Gold medal at the World Beer Cup.

1999 - Digging in on Belgian Beers

It was also around this time that we picked up a brewer from Vermont named Jason Perkins. A dedicated brewer who would help us expand our brewing operation far beyond that one Belgian-style wheat beer.

early picture of Allagash Brewmaster Jason Perkins

2002 - Another Medal at GABF

Allagash White wins its second gold medal, this time at the Great American Beer Festival.

2004 - Enter Curieux

By 2004, we were brewing quite a few more beers than White. One of our favorites, Tripel—a belgian-style golden ale—we tried aging in bourbon barrels. Depending on who you ask, Jason or Rob, it was either a happy accident or a calculated experiment. Either way, the resulting beer became Curieux, one of our most beloved year-round beers.

2005 - Going Wild

Jason’s initiative and brewing knowledge helped us build out our, now extensive, wild beer program. Interlude, a mixed-fermentation ale aged in wine barrels, was the first bottled wild beer we ever sold.

2007 - Brewing with a Coolship

Rob took a trip to Belgium with a storied group of brewers: Sam Calagione (Dogfish Head), Adam Avery (Avery Brewing), Tomme Arthur (Lost Abbey), and Vinnie Cilurzo (Russian River). While on the trip, Rob got the idea to try to brew traditional, Belgian-style spontaneously fermented beer back in Maine.

2008 - Pilot Beers

As we’ve grown, so has the number of people who can suggest a new beer idea. Everyone inside the company—from accounting, to production, to our lab—is encouraged to submit pilot beer ideas. Favorite beers like Two Lights, Haunted House, and more all started on this pilot system.

Two people brewing on the pilot system

2010 - Building Out

While 2007 marked the first of many brewery expansions, 2010 was when things really began to grow. In 2010, we officially moved our primary brewing and bottling equipment out of our original building and into a larger brewery space we built next door. In 2011 we installed a new keg line. In 2013 we added on a larger tasting room and installed our high-efficiency BrauKon brewing system. And in 2015 we expanded our bottling line.

2010 - Night of the Great Thirst

Our spontaneously fermented beers happened to be so well received that we were invited to a Lambic festival in Belgium named “The Night of the Great Thirst.” For the next four festivals, held biannually, we were the only American brewery.

Founder and brewmaster of Allagash

2011 - Bellagash

The idea came to Rob and Jason around 2010: once a brewery employee hits their five-year mark, let’s take them on a trip to Belgium—a voyage that we’ve since dubbed “Bellagash.” In 2011, Rob and Jason led the first group on a tour of storied Belgian breweries. Since then the groups have steadily grown and the effect of this magical trip has been enjoyed by a multitude of brewery employees. You can join a crew on their trip in our Bellagash blog.

2015 - Growing Up

In 2010 and again in 2015, we expanded our brewery. The whole time, since 1995, we’ve stayed on basically the same plot of land that we started in Portland, Maine. If you’ve ever enjoyed an Allagash beer, it came from right here.

2016 - Giving Back to Maine

As we’ve grown, we’ve never forgotten how much our community and state of Maine has given us. We make sure to give back in various ways: through philanthropic giving, through volunteer time off for employees, through grants, beer donations, and many more.

2016 - Award-Winning Brewers

In 2016, The Brewer’s Association honored our brewmaster Jason with the Russell Scherer award for innovation in craft brewing.

2017 - Still Gold

Allagash White wins its first gold medal at the European Beer Star awards. To that point, here’s every medal it won:

  • Gold, European Beer Star 2017
  • Gold, GABF 2015
  • Gold, World Beer Cup 2012
  • Gold, World Beer Cup 2010
  • Bronze, GABF 2010
  • Gold, GABF 2005
  • Silver, World Beer Cup 2004
  • Gold, GABF 2002
  • Bronze, World Beer Cup 2002
  • Gold, World Beer Cup 1998

2018 - Yes We Can

In 2018, we installed our very first canning line. We canned various beers in that first year, including: Tiny HouseHaunted HouseFloretteThe Stranger and the CraneStarling WitAllagash White, and River Trip.

Allagash White four pack of 16 oz. cans

2019 - James Beard Award

After having been nominated as a finalist in 2016 and 2017, Rob won the James Beard Award from Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits professional in 2019.

Rob Tod - James Beard Award Winner

2019 - B Corp Certified

Work-life balance has always been paramount to us as an employer. We’ve been voted one of the Best Places to Work in Maine for seven years running, thanks to a generous benefit plan that involves volunteer time off, a trip to Belgium after five years of employment, post-shift beers, and more. Being a B Corp gives us specific structure to continue to improve the lives of our employees long into the future.

Allagash employees celebrating our B Corp certification in 2019

2019 - Sebago Clean Waters Pledge

In September, we pledged to donate ten cents for every barrel of beer brewed to Sebago Clean Waters (SCW), a collaborative effort of nine conservation organizations working to protect water quality, community well-being, a vibrant economy, and fish and wildlife in the Sebago region through voluntary forestland conservation. At an amount of approximately $10,000 per year, these funds will go directly toward helping SCW preserve the quality of the drinking water in Sebago Lake.

A sample of Sebago Lake

2020 - Gold Again

Allagash White won its fourth gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival. It’s hard to put into words how gratifying it is to see that a beer we’ve been brewing and working to improve for 25 years is still at the top of its style.

Allagash White Four Ways

2022 - Awarded

Allagash White wins its fifth gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival.

2023 - B Corp Recertified

In 2019, when we were first certified, we received a B Impact score of 83.8, just over the qualification threshold to be called a B Corp. In 2023, when our recertification was finished, we achieved a new score of 104.0. In B Corp terms—where points are meted out in .1 and .2 increments—this was a significant leap.

The Allagash Brewing Company staff during a company meeting in June of 2023.

2024 - Silver for a Golden Ale

At the 2024 World Beer Cup, one of, if not the most, prestigious beer competitions in the world, Allagash Tripel won its sixth silver medal.

Looking Forward

We’ve got plenty of exciting news in the works for the future. We can’t wait to share it with you!