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US. New brewery to focus on lagers

A new beer will soon join Portland's growing batch of homegrown brews, but this one is a bit different.

Tom Bull and Alan Jagger have launched Bull Jagger Brewing Co. in a 1,500-square-foot facility in Portland's Riverside Industrial Park to make lagers, which they say is rare among microbrews.

"Tom and I love lagers," Jagger says. "And we saw a void. Most of the microbrews are making ales, and we thought Maine could use a new lager."

The difference between lagers and ales lies in the yeast strains used and the temperatures at which the yeast ferments, according to Bull.

The men are starting their business, at 1 Industrial Way, by making one beer, called Portland Lager, which will go on sale in the next couple of weeks, the owners say. They're planning to introduce it at Portland's Harvest on the Harbor Oct. 20-22, an annual festival of local food and drink.

Bull Jagger will try to take advantage of the national trend of rising microbrew sales. Maine now has about 25 microbreweries, according to the Maine Brewer's Guild, with a handful starting up just in the last two years. The sector is growing quickly, posting a 12% increase in sales nationwide in the first half of 2010, compared to 9% growth during the same period in 2009, according to the Brewers Association, a national trade group.

Bull says he's been brewing beers locally for about 20 years, working with some of Portland's breweries. Jagger describes himself as an entrepreneur who tasted Bull's lager recipe and fell in love with it.

In time, they say they'll introduce other German lagers, such as a schwarzbier, or black beer. "We'll exploit our unique niche of a lager," Jagger says.

The two hope to sell 400 barrels of beer their first year, or roughly 90,000 bottles. Their beer will be sold at restaurants, bars and high-end retail shops, and will be distributed by Mariner Distributors in Portland.

19 Oct. 2011

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