Bars of soap by White Pine Bath and Brew. Ashley Teresse Photography

SOUTH PORTLAND – Elaine Kinney decided to combine a vegan-soap with craft beer when she started her new business a few years ago. Kinney is the founder of White Pine Bath and Brew, and the company is based in Kinney’s home. She says beer is good for the skin and explained that beer brings added benefits to skin due to the brewer’s yeast and hops it contains. The amino acids in hops are said to sooth irritated skin and the brewer’s yeast has several essential vitamins.

In 2020, White Pine Bath & Brew was born when Kinney says she was driven by a passion for creativity and a desire to escape burnout during a global pandemic as she embarked on a journey to create something unique.

As the pandemic took hold, the founder, who had previously spent seven years working in social service and special education roles, decided it was time for a career change. Already accustomed to working from home, Kinney says the transition to entrepreneurship felt like the perfect opportunity, having learned the art of soap-making from a friend a year prior.

The business’s growth was significantly influenced by the vibrant small business community in southern Maine.

“There are so many incredible entrepreneurs in southern Maine. I saw these people creating their own dream jobs and opening small businesses that became major hubs for the community,” said Kinney. She envisioned their venture as a collaborative effort, aligning with other small businesses and using locally sourced craft beer to create unique soap products. The approach allowed for cross-promotion and forged connections with like-minded entrepreneurs.

White Pine Bath & Brew has found its stride within the local community, but it remains committed to expanding its reach. With a portfolio that features 16 different beers from 11 diverse breweries across the state, the business actively participates in local markets, where face-to-face interactions with clients are cherished. Additionally, White Pine Bath & Brew has engaged in fundraising initiatives, partnering with school districts and Peace Ridge Sanctuary to give back to the community.


A notable community-oriented goal of the business revolves around sustainability and reducing waste. By accepting short-fills and past-date beer from local breweries, White Pine Bath & Brew contributes to a eco-friendlier and more sustainable ecosystem for all involved. What was once excess beer destined for disposal now finds new life as a valuable ingredient in their soap-making process.

At the heart of White Pine Bath & Brew’s soap recipes lies craft beer, a dynamic ingredient known for its skin-friendly properties. Kinney says hops, with their soothing amino acids, and brewers yeast, rich in essential vitamins, form the foundation of these unique creations. Craft beer also contributes to a luxurious lather, enhancing the overall bathing experience said Kinney.

Each soap design starts with a theme, which guides the selection of a beer from a local brewery that complements the concept. Kinney says additional ingredients are carefully chosen to provide specific benefits in line with the theme. Fats and oils, combined in precise proportions, determine essential characteristics such as soap hardness, cleansing power, conditioning properties, and lather said Kinney. She says to ensure pH balance, all recipes undergo verification through a soaping calculator system.

White Pine Bath & Brew’s upcoming release, “Spiced Chai,” captures the essence of a cozy fall evening said Kinney. The soap incorporates Oktoberfest, a Märzen-style lager from Rising Tide Brewing Co., enriched with ground nutmeg for exfoliation and cocoa butter to moisturize and shield the skin from dry autumn air. The soap’s fragrance is said to be reminiscent of cinnamon and vanilla to set the mood for the season. Kinney says the visual aspect of the soap is just as meticulously curated as she personally crafts all labels and sketches artwork for each fragrance variation.

A common curiosity surrounding White Pine Bath & Brew is the use of beer in soap and its potential scent or alcohol-related effects. Contrary to expectations, Kinney says the soap doesn’t carry a beer scent, as fragrances are derived from carefully selected combinations of added oils. Also, she says there is no risk of intoxication, as the soap-making process, which involves boiling the beer to remove alcohol, leaves no traces of alcohol in the final product. White Pine Bath & Brew employs a unique “hot process method,” which accelerates the saponification process by adding heat, akin to cooking. This method ensures that no alcohol remains in their beer soap, offering a safe and enjoyable bathing experience for all.

For more information about White Pine Bath & Brew, visit

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