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#SebagoBrewTurns20 – Part 1: Origins


Sebago Brewing Company’s story starts on the shores of Sebago Lake – and at Chili’s. That’s where Sebago co-owners Brad Monarch, Kai Adams, and Tim Haines first met in 1996. Brad and Tim were managers at the mall-side Mexican restaurant. Kai was a server trying to learn how to run a restaurant so that he could open his own brewpub one day.


Brad is originally from Hudson, Mass. He had a degree in hotel and restaurant management from the UMass at Amherst and had worked at restaurants in Massachusetts, Virginia, and Maine.


Tim, also from Massachusetts, had worked at numerous restaurants from Massachusetts to Maine to Florida. Although he had a degree in graphic design from Fitchburg State, Tim preferred the dynamic atmosphere of the restaurant business.


Kai’s roots are more local. A graduate of Greely High School, he went to the University of Colorado to study geology, until a job at a Boulder brewery changed his career path. Soon after that, Kai was diagnosed with Hodgkin disease, cancer of the lymph nodes. At 22, he underwent radiation treatment, then retreated to his father’s house on Sebago Lake, where he’d grown up. With his cancer in remission, Adams starting working the bottle line at Geary’s and then became brewmaster at Sea Dog Brewing. And then the job at Chili’s where he met his future business partners.


After two years of working together, the trio made their move. They raised enough money to open the first Sebago Brewing brewpub in South Portland in 1998. There they honed their skills at managing employees, serving good, affordable food, and most importantly, making their brewpub a comfortable place where everyone felt welcome. You can bet that if you visited Sebago back then, at least one of the owners would be there serving food, pouring pints, and chatting with customers.


Over 20 years – and the opening of four more brewpubs, starting a production brewery, and going all in on a new destination brewery – the three partners have never lost sight of their original goals: to create good food and delicious beer, and to make Sebago Brewing a fun place to work and hang out.


For the next few weeks, we’ll be reminiscing about the past couple of decades — the beer, the fun — and looking forward to the next 20 years. Celebrate with us!


Sebago Brewing Company