Allagash’s outdoor setup at its brewery on Industrial Way in Portland. Photo courtesy of Allagash Brewing Co.

Allagash Brewing Co. plans to build a tasting room in Scarborough that will replace the one at its Portland brewery, which it says it’s outgrown.

The brewery’s current tasting area on Industrial Way, which has been outdoor-only since the start of the pandemic, will remain open until the new one is built at The Downs, a mixed-use commercial and residential development on the site of the former Scarborough Downs race track. Allagash announced Thursday that it plans to open the new tasting room, which will have both indoor and outdoor spaces, in 2024.

Allagash founder Rob Tod said the company’s current tasting area draws more than 150,000 visitors a year, a number that’s always growing. When Tod started Allagash in 1995, brewery tasting rooms didn’t exist in any significant numbers, so there wasn’t much thought to making room for one. The Portland space currently has a capacity of about 240 people.

Though details have not been finalized, Tod said the new Scarborough tasting room will have much more space for parking and for both indoor and outdoor tasting areas. The tasting room will sell Allagash beer and merchandise and some brewing will be done there as well, Tod said. The primary Allagash brewery, which now produces about 120,000 barrels a year, will continue to operate at its current Industrial Way location in Portland.

“We never had the opportunity to start with a blank canvas in creating a tasting room; now we will,” said Tod.

Tod said Allagash reached an agreement with developers of The Downs within the last month or so to purchase a more than 7-acre parcel about a half mile from Interstate 95. Tod said finding a place that was easy to get to was important, and it had to be within 15 minutes of the brewery.


Even though Allagash sells its beer in 20 states, Tod said, having a tasting room that is welcoming and accessible is “very important” to the business overall, especially in Maine, where droves of tourists are constantly looking for new experiences.

“Millions of people visit Maine every year, now almost year round, so (a tasting room) is a unique opportunity to directly engage with those customers,” said Tod.

Rob Tod, the founder of Allagash Brewing Co., announced Thursday its plans for a tasting room at the former Scarborough Downs racetrack site. Photo courtesy of Allagash Brewing Co.

After the Scarborough location opens, Allagash will still have a small indoor tasting area at the brewery, called Allagash Cellars, Tod said. Though it’s on the outskirts of Portland near the Westbrook line, the Industrial Way area is home to several other Maine breweries and the confluence of tasting rooms has made it a beer-drinking destination.

Since the former Scarborough Downs race track property was purchased in 2018 by Rocco Risbara, Peter Michaud and their brothers, they have developed more than 475 housing units at The Downs, including single-family homes, duplexes, condominiums, apartments, affordable senior apartments and a memory care facility. They’re also developing a business innovation district, a downtown district, and parks and trails.

Michaud said Thursday that at least three other breweries have expressed interest in locating at The Downs, though nothing has been finalized. Several restaurants and coffee shops have expressed interest as well. But Michaud, who is managing partner, said the developers do not want to “overbuild” any one type of business or amenity on the site.

Founded in 1995, Allagash is one of Maine’s oldest craft brewers, known for its Belgian-style beers, namely its flagship, Allagash White. Tod won a 2019 James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine, Beer or Spirits professional. Allagash was named Brewer of the Year in its size category at the 2021 Great American Beer Festival in Denver.

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