by Jessica Piper
Nate Wildes and Jared Entwistle are two twenty-somethings from Midcoast Maine who met earlier this year. They share a vision of building community—and hope to do so over glasses of beer.
Next year, they will open Flight Deck Brewing on the grounds of the old naval base at Brunswick Landing, approximately twelve minutes by car from Bowdoin College.
While craft breweries have been gaining prevalence both in Maine and throughout the United States, Flight Deck will be the first of its kind in Brunswick. Wildes and Entwistle see the brewery not only as a place to taste beer, but as a good space for social gatherings.
“Brunswick Landing is really in the midst of evolving from a former naval base to really a community,” Wildes said.
Since the Navy left Brunswick Landing in 2011, the space has been primarily occupied by industrial and office units, although other businesses have slowly crept in. One of these ventures—New Beet Market, which opened last March—belongs to Wildes and his spouse.
Flight Deck, Wildes and Entwistle emphasize, will be about more than just beer. In addition to an indoor tasting room, the brewery will include an outdoor patio complete with couches and fire pits that overlook the grounds of the old naval base.
The pair believes the brewery can help make Brunswick a more attractive community for people in their twenties.
“When you’re a young person growing up in Maine, there’s a lot of pressure to go elsewhere,” Wildes said.
Both Wildes and Entwistle are natives to Maine, and their commitment to the state is reflected in their desire to keep their business as local as possible.
“If it can be bought locally, we will buy it locally,” Wildes said.
He added that the growth of craft breweries over the past five years makes it easier to obtain materials from local sources. Five years ago it would have been difficult to find fermented grain suppliers in Maine.
Using local products also means that the pair can experiment with Maine-centric flavors. Entwistle noted that he hopes to produce a number of fruit beers and utilize Maine herbs to create one-of-a-kind blends.
“Mugwort, sumac, different herbs,” he said. “We’re probably going to start off a little more traditional but experiment more as we expand.”
As part of the brewery’s commitment to community engagement, Entwistle and Wildes plan to utilize customer feedback to develop a robust array of beer options.
The brewery will also minimize its environmental impact by getting its electricity from renewable sources.
“Every ounce of beer we produce will be produced with 100 percent renewable energy,” Wildes said.
The use of renewable energy is made easier by Brunswick Landing’s anaerobic biodigester, which will supply about one-third of the brewery’s electricity. The remaining power will come from other renewable energy sources.
Wildes emphasized that these environmentally friendly choices also make practical business sense.
“Using renewable energy means fewer price fluctuations long-term,” he said.
Wildes and Entwistle hope their brewery can become a staple of a growing community in Brunswick Landing. In the meantime, they want to brew beers people like and create an atmosphere where customers feel at home.
“We’re focusing on drinkable, approachable beer,” Wildes said. “Whoever you are, when you walk into Flight Deck Brewery, we want to be able to offer you a beer you like."