When Rob Tod decided to focus on Belgian-style beers way back in 1995, he didn’t know he was about to change the face of American craft brewing forever.
Before Tod founded Allagash Brewing in Portland, Maine, almost nobody on the west side of the Atlantic had tried brewing the wildly inventive and flavor-forward beers of Belgium. The American craft beer movement was still in its infancy, and most brewers produced little outside of the classic British and German styles — Pilsners, Pale Ales, and ESBs.
When he first introduced his Allagash White, a Belgian Witbier rooted in traditional techniques, he didn’t expect it to fly off the shelves. And for a long time, he was right — at first, drinkers didn’t know what to make of the hazy, spicy beer. It had notes of coriander and clove and had next to nothing in common with the American Lagers people were used to.
But the more people tried it, the more people liked it, and the unusual offering began to gain recognition. It won a Gold medal at The World Beer Cup in 1998, and another at the Great American Beer Festival in 2002. Now, it’s the brewery’s most popular offering, and one of New England’s most beloved beers.
The innovation didn’t stop there. Allagash was among the first in the country to brew just about every traditional Belgian beer. Their Dubbel and their Tripel — styles widely produced in the U.S. today — were both groundbreaking when first released. Allagash was also the first brewery in the country to install a coolship in 2007, effectively re-introducing spontaneous fermentation to the American scene for the first time since before prohibition.
And after all that, Allagash is still among the most celebrated, most imitated, most relevant breweries in America today. They even won Brewery of the Year at the 2021 Great American Beer Festival, the country’s premier craft beer competition.
How have Tod and his crew managed to stay at the forefront of brewing decade after decade, even as other breweries rise and fall? By adhering to their core principles no matter how big they get!
First and foremost, they remain 100% dedicated to producing the highest quality beers they possibly can. They use the best, locally-grown ingredients they can find, partnering with nearby farmers to source peaches and cherries for their fruited Lambic-style beers and wild Ales. And they’ve pledged to use a whopping 1 million pounds of Maine-grown grain each and every year.
They’re also blessed with pristine local waters — a building block of any great beer — and they’ve committed to preserving that resource for their brewery, and for generations to come. Allagash donates 10 cents to the Sebago Clean Waters conservation effort for every barrel they brew. That works out to about $10,000 a year, and rising!
That’s just the beginning of Allagash’s commitment to sustainability. They spearheaded a recycling co-op, working with other breweries and businesses to keep waste out of landfills. They installed a solar array to help power their brewery, keeping more than 300,000 lbs of CO2 out of the atmosphere since 2015. They even raise money to combat childhood hunger by selling off their used barrels!
So, when a craft beer fan picks up a brew from Allagash, not only are they enjoying a world-class beer. They’re also supporting an American small business that’s working hard to make their region, their country, and the world a better place.
Rob Tod and his crew are just one of the creative, independent brewery teams you can support by getting beer delivery through Tavour. When you snag one of Allagash’s unique, small-batch brews off the app, you can take it easy, postpone that trip to Maine, and know you’re sipping top-quality suds. Plus, every sip you enjoy (or share with your buddies) supports small, American-grown businesses that provide good jobs and great beer within their communities.