FREEPORT — A craft brewery that donates a percentage of its proceeds to military veterans is coming to town.

Cumberland resident Brad Nadeau, a former U.S. Marine Corps sergeant, hopes to open Stars & Stripes Brewing Co. this fall at 8 Varney Road, near Antonia’s Pizzeria on U.S. Route 1.

Leasing what used to be a kayak shop, and before that a car wash, Nadeau and friends have been tearing down walls and installing the plumbing needed for the 2,000-square-foot brewery’s equipment, expected to arrive by Aug. 3.

After that, it is fingers crossed that the machinery is working and that the beers come out as well as they have at home. Nadeau has operated the past three years at his West Cumberland garage, using 380-gallon stainless steel tanks.

The bar had yet to be installed last week, but the tables and benches were in place, reminiscent of a classic German beer hall. A large plaque, filled with all the names of people who donated funds toward Nadeau’s dream, leaned against the wall, waiting to be hung above the tables.

Nadeau launched a Kickstarter campaign in November 2017 to raise $20,000 in working capital that will help him obtain a lease and bank loan for the brewery. He has needed $180,000 in all to get started.

Nadeau and his wife, Nancy, who has a background in marketing, raised $10,000 six days into the campaign. The one-month fundraiser attracted 142 backers who pledged a total of $22,300.

“That obviously was a huge help,” he Brad Nadeau said, noting that getting a bank loan for a fledgling business was not easy.

The Nadeaus ultimately secured funding from Gorham Savings Bank.

“They believed in us and the concept of our brewery,” Brad Nadeau said. “(That we’re) not just another brewery,” and that the aim is to run a family-friendly establishment while supporting veterans.

“We’re hoping to do a veterans event once a month, once we get up and going,” he said.

He would like the brewery to host events for organizations, such as Toys for Tots, Easter Seals, the Travis Mills Foundation and K9s on the Front Line, with a percentage of sales going back to the groups.

Nadeau, who served in the Marines from 1999 to 2003 in Japan, the Philippines and Thailand, was ultimately deployed to the Middle East for Operation Iraqi Freedom, where his unit — the first in Iraq — cleared mines on the road to Baghdad.

Nadeau later earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology, worked in the cardiac rehabilitation at Maine Medical Center in Portland and then became an insurance inspector.

Publicity around Nadeau’s need for a brewery site led Justin Fletcher — who owns the Freeport building and with whom Nadeau had worked in construction — to reach out last December. As the project gathered steam, Nadeau quit insurance inspections June 1 to focus full time on developing the space and traveling around to pick up materials.

“I’ve been here seven days a week, mostly,” Nadeau said. “I took the Fourth of July off, and that’s about it.”

He had hoped to open July 1, but every step of the process has taken more time than anticipated, and cost a bit more. Nadeau said people warned him about that, but seeing was believing.

Inspections are being scheduled and conducted, new windows will be installed and new paint and siding will freshen up the place. Eventually, there will be outside seating on a 1,000-square-foot deck, which overlooks a small pond.

The brewery’s website, starsstripesbrewing.com, showcases year-round, specialty and seasonal offerings, with names reflecting Nadeau’s military experience: “Semper Fi.P.A,” “Platoon Pale Ale,” “Stout & Give Me 20,” and “Ooh-Rah! IPA.”

And in keeping with military tradition, the brewery’s slogan is straight to the point — “Enjoy your beer, that’s an order.”

Former Marine Corps Sgt. Brad Nadeau of Cumberland this fall plans to open Stars & Stripes Brewing Co. in Freeport. He is in the process of renovating the building at 8 Varney Road. (Alex Lear/The Forecaster)


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