By Jack Holland, Staff Writer
For one University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) graduate, Noah Bissell, the road to a new career after graduation has been a dream come true. His time at UMF gave him all of the tools that he needed to embark on a new adventure and start his own company, Bissell Brothers Brewing. He loves his new career and stated that he is, “absolutely pumped to go to work everyday,” and, “the happiest he has ever been.”
Bissell owns his own brewing company with his older brother Peter Bissell, that is located in Portland, Maine. The company is a small microbrewery that consists of three employees. His brews are sold across the state from Kittery to Bangor, the three work together to sell about 2,400 gallons of beer a month. For now the product is sold in kegs only, and can be tried at bars downtown such as The Roost, The Homestead, and Thai Smile.
When Bissell first came to UMF he studied psychology with the hopes of becoming a high school guidance counselor. As his first two years passed, in his junior year Bissell really started to pursue the idea of brewing. With the help of his professors, the idea started to become more of a reality.
“When I started to get interested in the idea of opening a brewing business, my psych professors picked up on it right away and set me up with the right people in different departments,” said Bissell, “regardless of what department they were in or how well they knew me, literally every professor I told about my plan was just like “Hell yeah, go for it!”
With all of the help and support he was gaining from his professors, Bissell was pointed in the right direction.
“I emailed Dr. Jean Doty because microbiology was one of her specialties and I wanted to learn more about yeast. She helped me design a year-long course focused on brewer’s yeast and sacrificed her prep and personal time to oversee that through the year,” said Bissell.
During his senior year, Bissell worked hand in hand with Dr. Doty studying yeast, and used the knowledge he had gained to start crafting his first beers. Dr. Doty had never worked with a non-science major on a science related project like this before, but it was the passion and dedication Bissell showed towards the topic that made her agree to work with him.
“I had the expertise in microbiology, but he had the expertise in brewing. We both learned a lot from each other. And the fact that each week he brought me a sample of his latest brew was a bonus!,” said Dr. Doty.
According to Bissell his operation is still very small. He compared it to Shipyard who sells around 30,000 gallons of beer a month. At the end of February Bissell Brothers will be expanding their business and selling their brews in cans as well as kegs. In the spring they plan on getting another fermenter, which will increase production. As for its presence in town, it seems to be doing quite well.
“We have a hard time keeping it on the shelves, at first we would run out and now we know to order enough so that can’t happen,” said Brewster Cherkis, a chef at The Roost.