Shipyard Brewing Co.’s $65 million redevelopment proposal that includes a beer-themed hotel is forcing about 30 employees who work in the Portland brewery to look for new jobs.

Founder and President Fred Forsley said Wednesday that the company is offering the affected employees jobs at Shipyard’s seven other locations and connecting them with nine other partner companies that are looking for workers. Opportunities also will be available a few miles away at the company’s Read Street warehouse after it is converted into Shipyard’s primary Portland brewery.

“Given time and notice, we are confident that no one will be out of work,” Forsley said. “And with the development of our Read Street location, there will be more opportunities there as well.”

According to planning documents given to the city last month and made public Tuesday, the existing brick brewery building and tasting room would be renovated. But the rest of the buildings on the 2-acre site – including the bottling plant – would be demolished to make way for the 105-room hotel, a three-story residential building with nine units at Hancock and Newbury streets, a large office building and a four-story garage for 360 vehicles.

In addition to the 60,000 square feet of office space, the development plan calls for both a 60,000-square-foot specialty pharmacy and a 40,000-square-foot distribution center known as a technical fulfillment pharmacy.

The centerpiece of the development, which is being spearheaded by the Bateman Partners, is a so-called “brewtel” that would connect guests to the brewing process by offering tours of the brewery, expanding the tasting room into the ground floor of hotel and possibly offering draft beer via room service using a portable draft system.


In an interview, Forsely said the plan is still evolving and could include a television channel dedicated to the brewing process and Shipyard’s brands, and hotel staff would be educated about the brewing process.

But, as Shipyard begins redeveloping its property, about 30 employees who work downtown will have until June 15 to find new jobs.

While the plan is winding its way through the planning process, Shipyard plans to decommission its 100-barrel brew house and 300-barrel fermenter conditioning tanks in downtown Portland. Its beers will be brewed at other locations in Bangor, Kennebunk, Clearwater, Florida, and Burlington, Vermont.

Shipyard and related companies have more than 900 employees.

After the renovation and redevelopment, Shipyard will have a three-barrel system downtown that will focus on experimental brews, as well as more space for barrel-aged beers. The company’s facility on Read Street would be outfitted with a 30-barrel brewing system, Forsley said. And in addition to beer, Shipyard would make other products there such as Cap’t Eli’s Soda, Ice Pik Vodka and other spirits.

While plans have been submitted for the redevelopment of the downtown brewery, Forsley said he has not yet submitted an application to convert the Read Street warehouse into a brewery. He said he’d like to have the downtown project underway sometime this summer and he said it would take about a year to finish.


“The goal is to build it as quickly as possible,” he said.

Plans to shift beer production out of downtown Portland come as the state’s largest brewery has seen its production volumes decline in recent years.

Shipyard’s output in Maine hit its high point in 2013, when the brewery produced over 5.1 million gallons of beer, according to data provided by the state. Shipyard made just 2.9 million gallons in Maine in 2017 – a 44 percent drop from 2013.

The popularity of some of its beers has been declining and the brewery shifted some production to its new facility in Florida.

Staff Writer Jim Patrick contributed to this report.

Randy Billings can be contacted at 791-6346 or at:

Twitter: randybillings

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