Strong Brewing Company: Beer Geeks to the Core
Take a tough Jersey girl with a tender spot for great beer, transplant her to Maine years later, and what do you get? A woman ready to take on the world of craft beer.
Meet Mia Strong, who with her husband Al, owns their tiny craft brewery in Sedgwick, Maine. Opened in 2013, Strong Brewing Company, whose motto is, “Beer geeks to the core…we brew what we like and we like everything,” has already grown in small leaps and bounds, completing a third expansion just this March.
Strong Brewing Company was the product of hard work and crowd-sourcing, including a successful Kickstarter campaign and a Community Supported Brewery, similar to a CSA. While Mia currently runs the business/operations end and Al makes the beer, she will soon train to brew on their new system. One can only wonder what beer styles she has in mind.
I caught up with Mia recently and peppered her with questions about how her love affair with beer began. “My mother was drinking Paulaner when I was in my teens. I snuck one of her beers and liked it. So long to the Old Milwaukee I pretended to drink with my friends, dumping it out when they weren’t looking. A few years later I discovered Old Rasputin from North Coast. I took a four-pack of it to a party and a guy told me, ‘Girls don’t drink beer like that.’ I had a few choice words for him to set him straight.”
In four years, the Strong Brewing Company has expanded twice, upgrading the brewing equipment, adding a tasting room, partnering with two food trucks and working to attract a third food vendor for summer, 2017.
I ask the million-dollar question: is there room for growth in the craft beer business?
Mia tells me, “I agree with the Brewers Association that we have only 12.2% of the beer market, so there’s plenty of room to grow. The diversity in styles is great for beer drinkers.”
“We’re not afraid to try new recipes and we listen. Last summer, people were asking for a stout. We switched up our production schedule in order to brew one to have on tap.” Mia has two kids, so I wonder what’s on tap at dinner time, for the adults, of course. What beers pair with comfort food like mac and cheese? “Something light, like our California Common Ale called Locomotive.” I’ve had it, and I agree. Goes great with clams and lobster, too.
— Kate Cone is the author of What’s Brewing in New England, (Downeast Books, 2016). She is currently working on a book about her search for her Irish ancestors and the beers they drank. Contact her at email@example.com