In 1983 David Geary opened a brewery in Portland, Maine.  In 2017 he joined us for episode #19.

In that episode David shared with us the unique program he had started years earlier. Each year he would run a competition at the Maine College of Art where students would compete to design the packaging for Geary’s annual Summer Ale. Not only would the student who won have their art become the packaging for that year’s beer, but they would also receive a check for a portion of their tuition from David and the brewery.

Little did we know at the time that David was also working on the sale of the brewery, and by the end of 2017, the brewery would be under new ownership and David would be working on his retirement.

Alan Lapoint

Co-founder (Shown with his wife Robin)

With strong backgrounds in business ownership and the beverage industries, we have an unwavering commitment to Maine craft brewing and manufacturing, as well as our state community.  We are business leaders and creative strategists who are passionate, authentic, and committed to both mission and team.

We co-own The Strainrite Companies, a leader in the global liquid filtration industry, and two important Maine craft breweries. We lead Geary Brewing Co., celebrating 40 years, with the ultimate goals of preserving and growing Maine and New England’s first craft brewery. Our team holds high standards of beer quality and exceptional customer service as well as flexibility in packaging and variety of beers.  Pride and passion in our work is evident to everyone who gets to know our brands. 

This year we launched our non-alcoholic brewery, 1820 Brewing Co., to bring our time honored brewing capabilities and quality to this special market sector to offer craft beer drinkers new options to support their modern lifestyle choices. We do this with the highest level of quality while offering a wide selection of true to style non-alcoholic beer. 

Our family is passionate about supporting local non-profits who are changing the ways people eat and farm through sustainable farming, climate research, education, and fighting food insecurity.  We have strong sustainability programs at our brewery, and share in the success of their implementation with our team, including some notable mentions with Garbage to Garden, Maine Brewshed Alliance, Maine Renewable Energy, and the Best Management Practices Classification by the Portland Water District.

Our businesses will grow and thrive another 40 years and beyond through our conscious use of our resources and unwavering commitment to minimize our waste and adapt to our customers tastes and preferences. 

It is important to us to be accessible to our team, community and customers, and we enjoy connecting with everyone who interacts with our brands.

We love to hike, ski, golf, travel, visit tasting rooms, and go abroad with the Maine Beer Box. 

Preserving Tradition While Innovating

I think we thought about it long and hard before we embarked on this adventure. We have a saying: “Preserve the Core and Stimulate Progress.” In that genre of thought process, what we really do is say, OK, we have the traditional side of the company, which is the English style, traditional Peter Austin brewing system, open fermentation.  The yeast has been pitched over 10,000 times.  It’s really the traditional way of making product. That’s one section of our facility that is just tried and true, authentic, clean, crisp, English style ales. We wanted to preserve that, it’s still the biggest part of our brand by far. But, to try to toe the line and to share with people that we can also make really high-quality New England Hazy IPA’s.

We had to shift a little bit from a production side as well. So we have a separate section of the facility that has nineteen 60 barrel closed fermenters. So that is where we make the lagers. But we also, with our co-packing, learn how to make some really, really fun style IPA’s and double IPA’s.  It’s using different style hops that people are using, not just typical Citrus and Mosaic. It’s really getting to love El Dorado and Azacca. Those are really cool hops. So, as we got into co-packaging, it really gave us the opportunity to see what we liked and how we wanted to define ourselves as a contemporary brewery. We have a contemporary line of products that really are sister products to the heritage style.

So, it’s been a challenge. I think we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But again, we are seven years into it. It’s taken a little bit of time. And I think the fact that we are co-packing for a lot of really cool brands, a lot of people, you know, it leaks out over time and people are like, wow, you know what, maybe I should try an IPA from Geary’s.

1820 Brewing Company and Non-Alcoholic Beer

We started investigating non-alcoholic beer back in 2019. Robin and I decided we wanted to offer our guests, along with the people in the state of Maine, an alternative so that you could have great tasting beer without the alcohol.  We’re about to pull the trigger in 2020 and all of a sudden, the pandemic hit. So, we put everything on hold, not knowing what the future was going to hold for the craft brewing industry and life in general. We held off because we wanted to do It in an authentic way. We wanted to brew it in the traditional way. We have brewers with over 70 years of brewing experience, and we wanted to lean on their expertise and their love and passion of brewing without altering the product at all.

We picked it back up in 2021, got really excited about it, started to really perfect the flavor profile, which is definitely one of the hardest parts.  But once you do that, you’re only halfway through the game, which we thought, hey, we got it. We got the flavor profile; we got the process; we’re going to kill it.  And then you realize this is a food product, this is a food safety product that you’ve got to make sure you’re making a product that is safe to be on the shelves when it doesn’t have alcohol in it, it doesn’t have any preservatives in it.

So, we investigated and decided on tunnel pasteurization. We tunnel pasteurize every single batch that we have, to make sure it is food safe and shelf stable. It’s a very expensive process, but we really feel it’s the only way to do it. You’ve got to, once you’re in the package and then you’re pasteurizing, then you know it’s going to be safe.  It’s been a long road. We introduced it with a soft introduction in the summer of 2022 and then really focused on it during dry January in 2023. It has done pretty well since then.

Behind the Brand

The Geary Brewing Company and 1820 Brewing Company Logos

Geary Brewing Logo

Promote the Brew’s Clothing Styles and Design Workshop for Fall/Winter 2018


July 18, 2018

at Lakefront Brewery from 8:30 to 11:30am

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