Urban Farm Fermentory, which makes cider and other beverages in Portland, is being purchased – but not by another brewery or even another beverage producer.

Instead, the fermentory at 200 Anderson St. may soon be owned by Maine Standard Biofuels, a Portland-based refinery that recycles cooking oil into heating fuel and other products.

The businesses said they expect the deal to be completed by the end of the year. Terms are not being disclosed.

The union of Urban Farm, which also produces kombucha, mead and other fermented beverages, with a grease-collecting biorefinery may seem like an unlikely pairing. But their respective founders, Eli Cayer and Jarmin Kaltsas, said it makes perfect sense.

The two companies have always shared an emphasis on localism and sustainability, said Kaltsas, of Maine Standard Biofuels. Over the last few years, the two began to consider what they could do by joining forces.

The businesses operate in many of the same markets, visiting the same restaurants and grocery stores – Maine Standard Biofuels in the back, collecting grease and cooking oil, and the fermentory at the front, selling its crafted beverages.


As the pair began to work out the details of what a joint venture could look like, Cayer said, they realized it made more sense for Maine Standard Biofuels to take over and buy the fermentory.

The early stages of the pandemic were difficult, with the tasting room closed and production scaled back.

“For the last couple of years, we were talking about doing this joint situation (but) what it comes down to, they’re in a stronger position to take that on and to grow,” Cayer said. “They were able to grow when we were shrinking.”

With the same footprint already, they can double their efforts and share resources, Kaltsas said. Plus, they can work to put the fermentory’s products in additional markets, including several grocery stores.

With the deal, the two companies plan to eventually develop a new, 12-acre green industrial park in Windham.

The site will feature agricultural fields for growing the herbs used in the fermentory’s beverages, as well as plants for the essential oils used in the cleaning products Maine Biofuels makes under the brand Second Power. The park will also serve as an incubator for “like-minded” startups.


“Synergistic design strategies” will help reclaim waste heat and byproducts for generating electricity, the companies said in a news release.

The park, which Kaltsas hopes to have running in the next year or two, will also eventually host the fermentory’s manufacturing and a future tasting room.

Both business founders hope the production facility will also be used for educational visits.

Kaltsas doesn’t intend for their work to stay only in Maine.

“A planned network of satellite facilities will be explored as common connection points for (Maine Standard Biofuels’) used cooking oils and viewed as potential markets for Second Power’s cleaners and (Urban Farm Fermentory’s) extensive menu of fermented beverages,” the companies said in the release.

They would also explore changes in product compositions, using ingredients local to the new locations.


“Our ultimate goal is to create a scalable business model built on local sustainability that can play a part in the global change needed to sustain our world,” Kaltsas said.

While manufacturing will eventually transition to the green industrial park, the Anderson Street tasting room won’t be going anywhere.

“We were the first producer in that neighborhood by a long shot,” Cayer said. “Now it’s the hottest bar district in the state.”

Kaltsas is excited about the East Bayside location, which he said will give Maine Biofuels a strong social presence in Portland that as a manufacturer, has been hard to develop.

He plans to build on what the fermentory has already created, but does have a few new ideas to explore, like offering brunch.

Cayer said the transition is a natural one, noting that the fermentory was “designed to sell.”

He will stay on until a replacement is hired, but wants to take a step back to work on other projects, he said.

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