Baxter Brewing boss boffo, biz mag says

Last week, we hated Forbes for (again) putting Maine at the bottom of the list in terms of good states in which to do business.

Boo, Forbes.

This week we LOVE Forbes for including one of Maine’s up-and-coming brewing greats in its list of 30 under 30 “brightest stars” in the area of food and wine.

Yay, Forbes!

That Mainer is Luke Livingston, 27, the CEO of one of my new favorite Maine companies, Baxter Brewing Co. in Lewiston.

To quote the quick Forbes blurb about Livingston: “The canned beer evangelist’s brewery sold nearly 5K barrels during its first year, and is still expanding.”

From Forbes’ intro to the piece:

Who is reinventing the world? Who should you hire today? Who will you be working for in 20 years? Who, in short, under the age of 30, matters?

Those are the questions we asked Forbes readers and 12 star-studded panels of industry experts as we compiled our first ever “30 Under 30” listing of tomorrow’s brightest stars.  From those thousands of nominations our staff reporters worked overtime to cull the list to the 360 ultra impressive up-and-comers listed here.

The news site pulled together similar listings for other areas, including finance, entertainment, energy, art and design, media, entertainment, science and innovation, law and policy, technology, music, real estate and others. (No, gentle readers, yours truly wasn’t on the media list. I’m just too well-aged…).

The site’s links are a bit wonky; some of its URLs don’t really take you anywhere – including the one that is supposed to lead to methodology. So I’m not exactly sure how Livingston was chosen, except that Forbes had a panel of experts Daniel Boulud, chef, author, Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur, and three-time James Beard award-winner; Danny Meyer, the restaurateur who is behind Gramercy Tavern the Shake Shack and others; and Lee Schrager, creator of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival and head of Food Network festivals in Miami and NYC.

Who else was on the food and wine list? Some guy named Kevin Gillespie, a chef at the Woodfire Grill who, if you pay attention to such things, was on Top Chef in the sixth season.

Oh, and someone named Emma Hearst, a chef who is, according to Forbes, “the youngest Iron Chef America competitor,” which, as a non-foodie, I assume is some sort of culinary body-building event…

Enough of what I don’t know. What do I know? I know I like beer, and I know I love Baxter’s current offerings – Pamola Xtra Pale Ale and Stowaway IPA. I’m not going to get into all the technical aspects about bouquet and whatnot; I’m a beer drinker, not a beer thinker. (I may have to trademark that comment…)

The beer’s crisp, hoppy, comes in cans and is most excellent after a mountain bike ride. Or for hanging out in a hammock. Or for lying on the couch, watching the Pats.

I also love the fact that its brewed in the old Bates Mill in Lewiston, and that it is delving into the mystique of my favorite place in Maine – Baxter State Park. The logo is a flying moose – which is a representation of Pamola. The guys at Baxter explain it best:

What’s with the flying moose? The creature in our logo is Pamola, an Abenaki and Penobscot legend of a spirit which is said to be the god of Thunder, the cause of cold weather and protector of Mt Katahdin, the tallest peak in the state of Maine. The Native Americans described him as having the head of a moose, the body of a man, and the wings and talons of an eagle. Pamola was both feared and respected by the tribes who believed in him.

I’m pretty sure I ticked off Pamola a year ago in October, when my dad and I climbed to Baxter peak, despite whipping winds and blowing snow – defying ol’ Moose-head to the end. That night, lying in my sleeping bag, I got a kidney stone attack and had to be hustled out to the hospital.

But that’s not going to keep me from drinking his beer…!