Blue Ox Malthouse, Maine’s first malting operation, launched in April 2013 by community organizer and homebrewer-turned-maltster Joel Alex. The mission of Blue Ox was to create a more robust resilient and equitable regional food systems. In craft beer and spirits, Blue Ox Malthouse offers shorter supply chains and thoughtful farming practices.
And it has been a success! Now, over 10 years later, the Blue Ox is readying plans to respond to the growing consumer demand for truly local beers and spirits while combating supply chain challenges that brewers and distillers experience.
Construction is underway for a major Blue Ox Malthouse expansion that will triple the operation’s malting floor space and quadruple its processing capacity. This expansion will ease supply chain difficulties that Northeastern craft breweries and distilleries experience by allowing for more robust resilient supply options.
The new space, same dedication to floor malting | Having outgrown the leased space in its current facility, Blue Ox purchased the entire building. Once completed, this upgrade will include two malting floors totaling nearly 8,000 sq ft. In addition to providing more robust resilient supply options, this expansion will achieve the goals of staying dedicated to floor malting while making work less physically demanding, enabling Blue Ox to hire staff of more diverse physical abilities.
The expansion will also open the possibilities for a more diverse lineup of malt products, and allow them to work with a wider array of small farms without compromising quality, consistency, or performance of its existing products.
“After ten years of being on the scene, Blue Ox Malthouse is undertaking this step to connect farms to locally produced beers and spirits in the Northeast region,” says Blue Ox Founder Joel Alex. “We weren’t built to be vertically integrated, but instead to make space for a mid-sized accessible market for rotation crops. Enriching our business with more capacity and improved equipment helps us stay niche and devoted to our mission of provide opportunities for breweries and farms to create meaningful collaborations”
Blue Ox Malthouse was founded with the intention to serve as a liaison between Northeastern agriculture and consumers of craft beer and artisanal spirits.
Completion of the Blue Ox Malthouse expansion is slated for early in the New Year. The malthouse will celebrate with an open house gathering for their customers this winter. Alex and his team plan to invite the community to tour the malthouse to see the value it’s bringing to the food and beverages we all enjoy in Maine and beyond.