Jon Green, brewer and cellarman, measures the level of carbonation in a batch of beer at Baxter Brewing in Lewiston on Thursday afternoon.

Luke Livingston drove to New Jersey on Thursday with three employees, headed down to pour 6,000 samples at the Atlantic City Beer & Music Fest.

Although Maine-based and Lewiston-grown, his Baxter Brewing beer has been on store shelves in New Jersey for 18 months.

“It’s definitely a developing market for us,” Livingston said. “We’ve had great reception of our beer every time we’re down. So, just continuing to spread the gospel.”

Anheuser Busch may be the king of beer in Maine with 15.4 million gallons sold here last year, but new figures released by the state this week show the old stalwarts’ market share dropping while newcomers like Baxter gain ground in beer sold in-state and out.

Though Anheuser made up a full 42 percent of the entire beer market in Maine in 2016, its sales dropped 4 percent between 2013 and 2016, according to figures from the Maine Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages & Lottery Operations.

Miller dropped 8 percent, Pabst 21 percent and Heineken 4 percent.

Baxter’s production — for both in-state and out-of-state sales — grew 84 percent over those same three years, up to 509,462 gallons.

The state’s figures list only Maine sales for out-of-state brewers but total sales for Maine brewers.

“Some of it is definitely taste-related,” Livingston said. “Palates have certainly changed, and consumers are constantly looking for something new; innovation is the name of the game right now. If you’re not innovating, people quickly stop paying attention to you.”

Sean Sullivan, executive director of the Maine Brewers’ Guild, which is hosting the second annual New England Brew Summit at the University of Southern Maine on Friday, said figures fall in line with state trends.

“More people in Maine drink local beer than the national average,” he said. “That growth is exactly what we’re talking about at the summit.”

The state has about 95 active breweries. A recent report put brewers’ economic impact to the state at $227 million last year, selling more than $150 million worth of beer and employing 1,632 people.

“The truth is, the biggest problem most of our brewers have is making enough beer to meet the demand,” Sullivan said. “I think, frankly, there could be a lot more beer being made and there’s still plenty of market. I know people think this growth is unsustainable, but the truth is, it’s such a small portion of the overall beer market; they’re not fighting against one another, they’re fighting against big beer.”

Also included in the numbers: 

• In 2016, 36.9 million gallons of beer were sold in Maine, up from 36.5 million in 2013.

• Shipyard Brewing, Maine’s largest brewer, saw its total number of gallons sold in state and out of state drop 29 percent between 2013 and 2016, to 3.6 million.

• Allagash Brewing, the state’s second-largest brewer, saw total sales growth of 57 percent during that time, to 2.8 million gallons.

• Baxter is the third-largest brewery in the state.

Bear Bones Beer in Lewiston sold 2,453 gallons last year after opening in February 2016. Co-founder Eben Dingman said the brewery recently hit a milestone, getting its first bottle — a beer named Triple C.R.E.A.M. — on store shelves around Maine a few weeks ago.

“Our business is based on the idea that there is a demand for localizing the economy,” Dingman said. “Many of our beers are nearly entirely Maine ingredients. It goes both ways: We buy local and we count on the customers to be buying local, too.”

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Emily Wrigley, a packager at Baxter Brewing, loads six-packs into cartons at the brewery in Lewiston on Thursday.

Julia Harper, the taproom manager at Baxter Brewing in Lewiston, chats at the bar with a fellow employee on Thursday afternoon.


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