MAPLETON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) – With more than 90 registered Breweries across the state, at least 20 of which opened in the last year according to the Maine Brewers’ Guild, there is no denying the booming craft beer business in the state.
It is an industry that enabled third-generation farmers Josh and Jacob Buck to start Maine Malt Company two years ago. Today, they are working to expand their operation located on their family’s farm in Mapleton.
"Word kind of got around what we were capable of and that's what lead to our expansion.” Jacob Buck said.
Jacob and his brother Josh, along with five other family members run the operation. It first started just two years ago. They said the expansion was part of their plan.
Their operation is just one part of the family’s massive farming operation in Aroostook County. The Maine Malt House provides malt barley to more than 30 breweries and distilleries all over the state.
It is a process that they learned over time. From the field, grain is stored in massive containers outside of their facility. It is then brought to a germination room, where it is steeped, and then spread on a concrete floor to continue the process. There the grain is raked by hand.
The process continues by placing the grain in a kiln. From there it is cleaned and packaged for shipment.
"I think there's a lot of pride, being able to supply Mainers and actually sourcing stuff ourselves from Mainers,” Buck said.
It is that pride that has become their driving force. Buck said they plan to expand to produce as much a five times more product. They also hope to be able to offer more varieties to their customers.
"It happened very fast,” Buck said.
For them, it is not just about the hard work, but the beer too.
"I am a beer guy,” he said. “More so than I was a couple years ago."