On March 9, the Southern Midcoast Maine Chamber hosted our annual awards event called the Big Night Out presented by Priority Real Estate Group. That evening eight awards were given to individuals and businesses who have shown exemplary support of the communities and our organization.

As a honor to these winners, over the next several weeks we will be sharing the speeches that were presented about them at the event so you have a better understanding of why they are so deserving. Businesses and individuals who have not won in the past five years were nominated by citizens and chamber members.

This week we are featuring the winners of our new business of the year, recently renamed the Excellence in Entrepreneurship award. Here is their speech, exactly how it was presented on the awards night.

Excellence in Entrepreneurship: Flight Deck Brewing

All fires begin with a spark. Most fires ignite with a slow gradual burn, where a small ember is lit — a slight promise of what it may become in the future — and slowly it builds into something more. Think of those as a traditional campfire, built on a base of kindling, newspaper, dry leaves and perseverance — the spark from a flint ignites a leaf and one must gently blow so the flame can spread among the base until it begins to manifest into something grander.

Other fires — rare though they may be — ignite in a different way. Instead of lighting a small ember that, with care, will eventually manifest into something much larger, this other fire begins with a spark that ignites a fuse. And the fuse is attached to a perfect storm of accelerants and additives that make the moment of ignition, not a slow gradual burn, but a combustible explosion. Flight Deck Brewing is most definitely the latter.

Born out of a love for beer and a passion for the region, Flight Deck Brewing opened to the public in early 2017. Everything about their beginning had an edge that made it unlike what has come before it, yet also something very familiar.

The location of their brewery is fundamental to that — being located inside the former Small Arms Range building on Brunswick Landing, formerly the Brunswick Naval Air Station. A familiar building, but with a wholly unique twist. In fact, when you walk into Flight Deck Brewing, you feel the history of the space, like it’s etched into the walls — because it is. The pockmarks on the walls illustrate the history of the room.

Co-founder and brew master Jared Entwistle was familiar with making beer from his time in another premier Maine brewhouse, but he got a chance to make his formulas with his own unique recipes using as many locally-sourced products as he can. For instance, 100 percent of their base malt comes from Blue Ox Malthouse in Lisbon. Some of the results of his unique recipes are products like the Tea-56 Hibiscus known commonly as “the pink beer” and Pilot’s Porridge, a dark beer made with bundles of Maine oats.

Co-founder Nate Wildes is familiar to many people in the region, but in a very short amount of time, Nate helped position Flight Deck as a hub of activity.

They have thrown open the doors of their tasting room to events and gatherings of all sizes, and Nate actively cultivated many of those partnerships. They host events for book clubs, the Midcoast Edge, the historical society, many MRRA-based events, air show events, cornhole tournaments and more.

They are dog-friendly with regular entertainment and a variety of rotating food trucks that offer a variety of fare. They hosted well over 50 events in their first year, and in doing so they got many faces in their door — including a ribbon cutting that featured a toast from Sen. Angus King.

They also keep up with the latest trends and take their personal beliefs and put them into action. They care for sustaining a healthy environment and so they have embraced cutting edge technology trends, by being one of the few breweries on Earth that brew with 100 percent renewable energy. They do this by using a state-of-the-art electric brewing system (a relatively new technology in commercial brewing), and by sourcing electricity from a combination of anaerobic biodigestion (organic waste becoming electricity) and solar sources. Additionally, they have four electric vehicle charging stations at the brewery to cater to clients with those special vehicles.

By combining these unique yet familiar ingredients they have made Flight Deck Brewing a tasty choice for many different people. They’ve been embraced by the region, because they have done what every new business should do. They engage with the community, they create their own buzz, but most importantly they took what is familiar and known, and instilled their values and unique fingerprints to make it something refreshing and new.

They will continue to grow in the years to come as they begin to package more of their product and get it distributed throughout the region. But much like the P-3 that adorns the walls of their brewery and tasting room, and is featured in their logo, now that they have taken off there is no telling how high they can climb.

Ladies and gentlemen please welcome to the stage our 2017-18 Excellence in Entrepreneurship recipients, Flight Deck Brewing.

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