AUBURN — The city is getting a new brewery and a poutine restaurant.

Business partners and friends Ben Low and Matt Johannes announced Thursday during the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce’s LA Metro Marketplace that Side By Each Brewing Co. and The Poutine Factory will open at 1110 Minot Ave. this coming winter.

Low is the former director of brewing operations at Baxter Brewing Co. and Johannes the former head brewer there.

The chamber’s new economic development arm is providing financing support as they turn the former 10,480-square-foot Hammond Tractor building into a space that’s part brewery, part tasting room and part cafe.

“We’re really trying to keep it open and welcoming and family-friendly,” said Low, of Auburn. “It’s not going to be super-hipster feeling like a lot of the places in Portland, in keeping with the community.”

Kitchen space inside is being leased to Randy Smith from Pinky D’s Poutine Truck, who will operate his business within the business. Smith will serve lunch and dinner at The Poutine Factory.


Low said they spent seven months looking for the right spot in the Twin Cities. 

The idea to open a brewery came from “partly just wanting to run our own businesses and be able to brew the kind of beers that we wanted to brew,” he said. “We’ll have a lot more flexibility than you do at a brewery the size of Baxter. Those were two of the big factors.”

They plan to offer at least 12 craft beers on tap at any given time. They’ll have growlers, 5-liter mini-kegs and kegs to go.

“We like drinking pretty much any kind of beer that’s made well, and we like making pretty much any kind of beer, so we’re going to be really eclectic,” Low said.

Plans include IPAs, traditional German-style lagers and wheat beers, barrel aging and sour beers, he said. “We purposely chose kind of a small system, which means more brewing, which is OK with us, but smaller batch sizes so we can keep changing it up frequently.”

Johannes, who lives in Freeport, said they’ll build out the space so customers can “listen to music and watch a couple of goofy guys behind a big ol’ glass.”


“Our brewery is going to be in a fish bowl,” he said. “We’re going to try to make it a little bit of an interactive experience. We love sharing our knowledge about the process and what we do, the things that we’ve learned along the way, both for better and worse — and talking with people who know a little or a lot about beer. We enjoy the process of it from beginning to end.”

Side By Each’s unconventional name is an old Franco-American expression, Low said, a nod to the community that also gets at their venture, two guys making beer together.

“There are folks that are going to want to come up here and spend their lunch hour, want to come here and have their meetings over coffee,” Johannes said. “One of the cool parts of our gig is we really get to enjoy market research. We think that there are not enough places in the Lewiston-Auburn area to be able to sit down and have those nice, low-key meetings and also to have spots where families can come and bring their kids.”

Construction will start soon. They anticipate opening with two tasting-room employees and growing to a staff of up to 10.

“Getting it open is going to be the best part,” Johannes said. “We’ve been waiting to brew beer for a long time.”

[email protected] 

Matt Johannes, left, and Ben Low are opening Side By Each Brewing Co. in the former Hammond Tractor building on Minot Avenue in Auburn. The plan is to have 12 beers on tap at one time, Johannes said. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: