LEWISTON — The former White Rock Distilleries is now Boston Brands of Maine, and instead of turning out rum and flavored vodka, its star alcohol will be Maine-made, Maine-sold coffee brandy.

The plant was bought last year by the Sazerac company from Beam, which had moved away production of its major brands and had made plans to close the facility at 21 Saratoga St. in the Lewiston Industrial Park.

A Sazerac spokeswoman said Tuesday that about half of the 120 workers laid off by Beam had been offered new jobs by the company with hopes that the workforce would continue to ramp up as production expands.

According to the company’s news release: “For the past several years, Mr. Boston Coffee Brandy has been one of the fastest growing brands in the state of Maine and as we all know, Mainers love their coffee brandy!”

For years, coffee brandy has been the top-selling spirit in Maine. Mr. Boston last year was the second-best-selling coffee brandy behind Allen’s Coffee Brandy, according to the Maine Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations.

Spokeswoman Amy Preske said this would be a new incarnation of Sazerac’s Mr. Boston Coffee Brandy, made specifically for this market with coffee beans roasted in Portland. The brand will be 60 proof and bottled in a variety of sizes from 50 milliliters to 1.75 liters.


It had previously been available in 60 proof in only 50 milliliters, she said.

Canadian LTD, Fleischmann’s Vodka and Fleischmann’s Blended Whiskey, Crown Russe Vodka and Barton Vodka also will be bottled at the Lewiston plant for the Maine market and labeled on store shelves with “Maine made” stickers.

Preske said the appeal for the company was both coffee brandy’s popularity here and the workforce. Sazerac will take over the plant on April 1 and start production very soon.

“We’re ready to go,” she said.

The family-owned White Rock Distilleries was sold to Beam Inc. in April 2012 for $605 million, initially with assurances that bottling brands such as Pinnacle Vodka and Calico Jack would stay local. Beam instead moved those lines to Kentucky last year and sold the plant to a subsidiary of Sazerac in October for an undisclosed amount.

Sazerac is a private, family-owned company headquartered in New Orleans.


“We’re pleased that we were able to ‘save’ this plant from ceasing to exist and offer jobs to so many of the people of Lewiston,” said Mark Brown, Sazerac’s president and chief executive officer, in a news release. “We look forward to having the opportunity to produce these brands in Maine for Mainers, especially Mr. Boston Coffee Brandy, for many years to come.”

Sazerac said Tuesday that it will build a micro-distillery in the Lewiston plant within the next three years to develop new products.

“A micro-distillery traditionally will make things on a smaller scale,” Preske said. “It can make whatever you want — bourbon, whiskey; you can even make vodka. You’re only limited by what you can’t think of.”

In 2010, White Rock Distilleries had won the city of Lewiston’s Economic Achievement Award. On Tuesday, Economic and Community Development Director Lincoln Jeffers was glad to hear the latest news.

“The new owners of the former White Rock facility are recognizing the quality of the Lewiston workforce and capacity of the plant to continue to produce popular liquors and cordials,” Jeffers said.


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