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Maine Success Stories - Luke Livingston, Founder and CEO, Baxter Brewing Co.

Luke Livingston

Photo courtesy of Andrew Cullen Photography

In this interview, the UBC met with Luke Livingston, an Auburn native, to ask a few questions about Baxter Brewing. Luke wrote the business plan for Baxter Brewing Co. when he was only 24! By 2011, at the age of 27, he was named on Forbes 30 under 30 List in the Food and Wine category

How did Luke make the cut for Maine Success stories? Well, he operates out of Lewiston, made it into Forbes, and his brewery produced more than 65,000 cases worth of beer in 2011. Oh, and this has all happened in 3 years! Perhaps what makes Luke a real champion is his passion to stay in the State. “We’re not leaving the mill [Bates Mill, Lewiston],” he said. “We’re there for good.”

Good for you Luke, the UBC is behind you!

UBC: Tell us a little bit about Baxter Brewing and what your role is?

Luke: I am the President/Founder of Baxter Brewing Co., an Eco-conscious brewery that is the first in New England to package 100% of its beer in metal containers only – aluminum cans and stainless steel kegs – now employs 10 people, and plans to add to its workforce in 2012. We grossed nearly $1 Million in our first year, and brewed 5,040 barrels of beer (about 155,000 gallons) in our first full year of production. This feat is be a record in the U.S. craft beer industry.

Within the company itself, my primary responsibilities include overseeing the company’s marketing/sales strategy; serving as the primary point of contact with our distributors (both current and those in potential new markets); our public relations responsibilities; event planning and execution; and assistance with/oversight of budgeting, forecasting and accounting.

UBC: Why Maine? What are some of the benefits of working in Maine?

Luke: I moved to Maine when I was 7 years old and after leaving the state for college, knew I wanted to be back home after graduation. I chose to locate the brewery specifically in the Lewiston-Auburn community in part because this is where I grew up (in Auburn – Edward Little H.S. class of 2003), and in part because while Lewiston is the state’s second largest city, we are the only production brewery here, making us a big fish in a little pond. The L/A Community is centrally-located (more than 50% of the state’s population is less than an hour away) making logistics easier, and best of all, it’s great to give back to the community I grew up in.

UBC: Any advice for young entrepreneurs?

Luke: I know it sounds cliché but go for it! There are plenty of resources (many of them free) out there to help you plan, and execute that plan and there is money available too. If you have a fresh, unique idea with a fresh and unique approach, anything is possible. But nothing will come to you if you sit around and wait for it. Good luck!

UBC: What did it mean for you to be named a Top 30 entrepreneur under 30 by Forbes?

Luke: The Forbes’ award, if you want to call it that, came as a huge shock and surprise (they still won’t tell me where they got my name). Just to know that Forbes new I existed was an honor. It’s fun to be shaking up their foundations a little bit too. For instance, the category I was named in was the “food & wine” category, so to win with a brewery was pretty fun (not to mention what it says about the direction that craft beer and the beverage industry are moving in). But most importantly, while they could only point to one person at Baxter for the award and while it was my idea, it’s important to note that without any of my 9 other employees my idea would still just be an idea. Everyone here works seamlessly together to take each idea of mine from infancy to fruition!

To find out more about Baxter Brewing Co., visit their website www.BaxterBrewing.com or Facebook page. Or better yet, visit them in person at the brewery in Lewiston for free tours and product samples! Tour times, directions, hours, etc. can all be found at www.baxterbrewing.com/visit.


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