PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The country where Bjork learned to make music is showing Mainers how it makes beer.
In addition to 90 or so brewers from Maine who will attend the Summer Session Craft Beer Festival in Portland on Saturday, several more brewers from Iceland will also be there. Soliciting exhibitors from outside the United States is a first for the festival.
The Maine Beer Box is facilitating that cultural exchange. A 40-foot long shipping container outfitted with 78 draft lines along its side, it will be impossible for festival visitors to miss.
In June, members of the Maine Brewers' Guild traveled to Reykjavik to debut the Beer Box at Iceland's biggest brew festival to date. The Guild's executive director, Sean Sullivan, struck up a conversation with representatives of Eimskip, an Icelandic-based shipping company that operates in Portland.
"We got talking about all the different things you can do with containers," Sullivan said. "We joked then about creating this giant 'keggorator,' and it happened this past year."
Sullivan said shipping beer overseas from Maine is cheaper than trucking it to the southern U.S. And in Iceland, breweries can't sell or even offer tastings of their beer in-house. The Beer Box opens up a much larger market for both countries.
"I think craft beer consumers these days, and just fans of beer, they want to try something new," Sullivan said. "They want to try beer they've never been able to try before, and they want an experience."
That experience can be had from noon to five on Saturday at Thompson's Point in Portland. And even before it starts, organizers are already looking ahead to 2018 as they consider the next country to feature.