Inspector Irene Warner checks Fireball Cinnamon Whisky bottles Wednesday on the line at Boston Brands of Maine in Lewiston.

LEWISTON — Wearing gloves, a hairnet, safety vest, glasses and ear protection, Gov. Janet Mills toured the local Boston Brands of Maine plant Wednesday, watching 750-milliliter bottles of Fireball Cinnamon Whisky zip through a labeler and drop 12 at a time into waiting boxes printed, “Tastes like Heaven, burns like Hell.”

Plant Manager Andy Muschinski welcomes Gov. Janet Mills, other guests and workers from Boston Brands of Maine’s Lewiston plant Wednesday morning during a press conference announcing a major expansion.

“It seems just like yesterday, Boston Brands announced its $1 million expansion here in Lewiston creating 30 new jobs in addition to the 130 Maine people they already had employed here,” Mills said moments before. “Today, not even two years later, we join them to celebrate another $4 million.”

Plant Manager Andy Muschinski said the new investment announced Wednesday will increase the Saratoga Street plant’s capacity by 20%, replacing an older production line with a more efficient one. It will also mean 50 new hires, some as soon as possible.

The plant has 169 employees. It runs 24 hours a day, five days a week — with some weekends — to meet demand, he said. The average starting wage is $14.50 to $19.50 an hour, depending on the position.

“We’re really excited to continue the growth in the state of Maine and also in the Lewiston-Auburn area,” Muschinski said. “The growth overall for our company is really the driver for the expansion. All of our products are in a good spot, and we want to continue to grow for all of the products we make at this facility.”

The brand’s Fireball Cinnamon Whisky edged out longtime state favorite Allen’s Coffee Brandy in sales last year, according to the Maine Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages & Lottery Operations, at $10.1 million compared to $9.5 million.

Across its lines, Sazerac Co., Boston Brands of Maine’s parent, had more than $19 million in spirit sales in Maine in 2018.

Sazerac bought the former White Rock Distilleries from Beam Inc. in 2013.

Inspector Irene Warner checks Fireball Cinnamon Whisky bottles Wednesday on the line at Boston Brands of Maine in Lewiston.

Mills said she was happy to see all of the activity in Lewiston-Auburn.

“This is a place that is vibrant with the new economy of Maine and with a great workforce to offer new employers and any employers,” she said, adding that she hoped all businesses here, whether relocating or expanding, know: “We want you here, we want you to invest, to expand and to succeed. I want to be the biggest cheerleader this state has ever had, to tell the world what a great place we are to work and live and raise a family.”

Muschinski said the company has worked with Northeast Technical Institute and Central Maine Community College to find new hires and enhance the leadership skills of workers.

“We’re excited for our employees,” he said. “It gives them a nice, solid foundation for continued growth, and also supports the community.”


Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: