Carol Parlin checks the labels on bottles of liquor at the Sazerac bottling plant in Lewiston on Saturday morning, when a $1 million expansion to the bottling plant was announced. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

LEWISTON — Saturday was “a great day for Lewiston,” U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin said, following the announcement by Sazerac Co. of a $1 million expansion at the Boston Brands of Maine bottling facility.

The company’s expansion will increase capacity at its Saratoga Street plant within its present building. It does not involve additional construction on the property.

The plant, which bottles the popular Fireball Cinnamon Whisky, will add about 30 full-time employees to its current workforce of about 130. The jobs will pay from $16 to $18 an hour.

“Maine people are among the hardest workers in the nation,” Poliquin told company officials and dignitaries attending the announcement. “It’s important that our government also helps with expansion opportunities.”

Poliquin, a Republican representing Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, said he was “thrilled that we have an American company that does business globally choosing to invest right here in Lewiston, Maine.”

Gerry Reid, director of business development for Boston Brands of Maine, told the attendees that Sazerac moved into the Lewiston plant in 2013 when previous owner Beam decided to leave the state after buying the former White Rock Distilleries for $605 million in 2012.

“That has turned out to be an excellent decision, and we are now happy to be expanding and investing further in Maine’s economy,” Reid said.

Diane Jackson of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development expressed appreciation for Sazerac’s support of the local facility.

“When Maine business invests, Maine people prosper,” she said.

Jackson noted that Maine has an aging workforce and said she was confident that the ability and talent she has seen among the state’s younger workers will benefit from the expansion at the Lewiston company.

Dana Connors, president of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, calls Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce President Beckie Conrad to the lectern at the Sazerac news conference, at which a $1 million expansion was announced Saturday morning. The bottling plant expansion brings 30 new full-time jobs to the area. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

Dana Connors, president and CEO of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, also praised the firm’s good news, saying, “We can’t get enough of it.”

Following remarks by the dignitaries, a group of about 20 toured the plant under the guidance of plant manager Andy Muschinski.

Earlier this year, Sazerac officials told Maine lawmakers that a proposal to ban 50-milliliter bottles known as “nips” threatened its expansion plans. The state instead voted to raise the price from 99 cents to $1.49 starting Oct. 1.

In 2016, the Lewiston plant bottled six of the top 25 most popular-selling liquors in Maine, according to the Maine Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations: Fireball Cinnamon Whisky, Crown Russe Vodka, Barton Vodka, Boston Coffee, Fleischmann’s Vodka and Canadian LTD.

Sazerac has not yet submitted its expansion plans to the city, according to planning department officials.

Bruce Poliquin stands in front of a newly installed filler at the Sazarac bottling plant in Lewiston during a tour on Saturday morning. The plant announced a $1 million expansion and the new filler will increase the volume capacity by 20-30 percent. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)


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