D.L. Geary Brewing Co. is being sold to a Freeport businessman who has taken over the management of Portland’s first craft brewery and intends to complete the acquisition before the end of the year.
Kelly Lucas, whose parents, David and Karen Geary, co-founded the brewery in 1983, identified the buyer late Thursday evening as Alan Lapoint of Freeport.
Lucas, who had served as the company’s director of operations, said the sides reached terms on a management contract Wednesday that gives Lapoint immediate control of the company based on Evergreen Drive.
“The sale will take several months to complete,” said Lucas, adding that she was not at liberty to disclose the sale price.
Lucas said D.L. Geary was been struggling for a while with declining sales, brought on by a highly competitive market for craft brews. There are approximately 75 breweries in Maine, and that doesn’t include the pressure caused by out-of-state breweries that have made incursions into the state’s craft beer market.
Lucas’ mother died in 2013 and her father, David, who goes by D.L., is 72 years old.
“We just felt like we needed help and some high levels of energy that will re-invigorate the Geary’s brand,” Lucas said. “The time and the energy just wasn’t there.”
Lucas said the new management/ownership team will keep the Geary’s name and the iconic Lobster symbol on the bottle.
Lucas said some employees had to be let go, but she declined to go into details, referring workforce questions to Lapoint.
“We had to make cuts and that saddened everyone,” Lucas said. “We loved them all, like they were family.”
Lucas has agreed to stay on at Geary’s to help Lapoint with the transition.
“I feel like this is the best move for Geary’s. It’s going to help us rebuild the brand,” she said.
In November, the Press Herald reported that Geary Brewing, which started selling beer in 1986, made 34.5 percent less beer in 2015 than in 2011. Those figures were derived from the state’s Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations.
David Geary told the Press Herald last fall that the craft brew landscape had changed dramatically from what it was 30 years ago with a more crowded market both locally and nationally. Though the company was founded in 1983, it didn’t start selling beer until 1986.
“Like many established older brands, Geary’s has allowed their branding to stale, and hasn’t done much to come up with new beers to excite the imagination of craft beer drinkers,” Dick Cantwell, a renowned beer entrepreneur and brewer, told the Press Herald last year.
Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at: