Folks in the Maine beer industry often get asked, “How can there be so many breweries and distilleries in one state?” At Sebago, we’re not baffled – we’re pumped. The cornucopia of like-minded beer freaks and passionate spirit-makers actually makes our job more fun. We’re challenged, inspired and motivated every single day. Yeah, there’s insane competition, but we also get to collaborate with people who really understand what fuels us: make the best, most delicious product or bust.
Three years ago, the founder of Sebago Brewing, Kai Adams and Eric Michaud, owner of Liquid Riot Bottling Company, discussed the Riot’s new bierschnaps program on the ride home from legislative committee in Augusta about the ability for brewers to list beer’s alcohol content. The Riot was interested in using some Sebago beer to distill into schnapps and both guys were really excited to share it with their regulars.
As luck would have it, after the first release of Sebago’s Bonfire Rye Ale, we realized there was going to be a surplus. Without blinking, head distiller for the Riot, Ian Michaud, and Sebago’s head brewmaster, Tom Abercrombie, coordinated a transfer of 30 kegs of Bonfire Rye from the brewery to the Riot’s Portland distillery. Two years (and a few charred oak barrels) later, Bonfire Spirit was born.
Distilled from Bonfire Rye Ale, Bonfire Spirit is made just once a year and barrel-aged for two. The spirit exemplifies all the flavor of a traditional American spirit (such as whiskey), but exudes the floral and citrus notes of the Bonfire Rye Ale hops.
So, where can you find Bonfire Spirit? Due to the small batch production, the spirit will be available (in limited supply) starting Thursday, April 28th, at all four Sebago Brewing Company locations, as well as at Liquid Riot Bottling Company and Novare Res (both in Portland). Once the well is dry, we will not have any available until August, when we release the next batch of Bonfire Spirit alongside our Bonfire Rye Ale.
We are thrilled to offer our customers this rare and very special “whiskey,” and we’re honored to have the opportunity to collaborate with the great minds at the Riot. It’s partnerships and great products like these that keep us coming back for more.