BAR HARBOR — Fogtown Brewing Company is set to open a tasting room in a storefront space in the Criterion Theatre building on Cottage Street this summer.
Expanding into Bar Harbor has been part of the plan for the Ellsworth-based company for some time, owner Jon Stein told the Islander.
“We really like Ellsworth; we’re not leaving,” he said. Fogtown’s brewery and tasting room is in the first story of a large brick building on Pine Street that’s also home to Atlantic Art Glass. “It’s an ideal area for production.
“The city has been great to us,” Stein continued. “Our local community and our regulars here are all very supportive.” Fogtown’s doors opened in January 2018 after Stein and co-owner Ian Heyse spent most of 2017 remodeling the space.
The new tasting room can offer space for people to gather before and after performances at the Criterion, he said, alongside other nearby bars and restaurants. “We’re excited about working with them.”
Fogtown will also host performances, “small, intimate shows that would be too small for the Criterion,” he said. A special amusement permit to allow this goes to the Town Council for approval Tuesday.
“What a small brewery really wants is to have a bustling downtown and to have people come into the taproom,” Stein said. Atlantic Brewing also recently opened a taproom on Cottage Street.
“If we have two or even three breweries in a small downtown, that highlights that town as a destination for really good beers,” he said. The majority of Maine’s craft breweries are clustered in the Portland area; he’s hopeful about “getting more people to recognize this area as a hub for great craft beer.”
Stein and Heyse and their staff have been remodeling the Cottage Street space, which most recently was home to the Trailhead Cafe.
“It’s not all about selling the most beers possible,” Stein said, “it’s about the experience and the community feel and the aesthetic.” The company plans to keep the tasting room open year-round.
This story will be updated.