Inspector Irene Warner checks Fireball Cinnamon Whisky bottles coming off the line at Boston Brands of Maine in Lewiston in 2019. A national surveys found more people across the country, including 19% of Mainers, switching to hard alcohol during the pandemic. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal file photo

It’s a two-Buzz week with spirits, snips and a $5 million reno.

First up: Spirited stats.

Some 19% of Mainers have switched to stronger liquor since the start of the pandemic, according to American Addiction Centers, which sent out a flurry of news releases in the past month.

Look around the country and that appears to be a modest increase, if its survey is to be believed: New Hampshire is 47%, Rhode Island 54%, Alaska 61%.

The group equates the increase to trying to drink away boredom.

American Addiction Centers says it also found that 23% of Mainers had borrowed money to buy alcohol, along with this whopper within a whopper: “The average Maine employee has spent a staggering 33 hours hungover while working from home during the pandemic (compared to a national average of 112 hours).”


Um, wow. I’ll just type softly and leave that right here.

New salon coming to Main Street

Amina Boutique has leased 1,278 square feet of space at 183 Main St. in Lewiston, according to Mainebiz.

Chris Paszyc and Noah Stebbins of The Boulos Co. and Kevin Fletcher of Keller Williams Realty brokered the deal.

Fletcher said Thursday that the business is a new hair salon. Have any salon-related entrepreneurial pursuits in mind?

There’s an adjacent 1,000 square feet still available, he said.


New hospital wing

An artist’s rendering of the new St. Mary’s Adult Behavioral Wing, which starts construction this month in Lewiston. Submitted art

St. Mary’s Health System is kicking off a $5 million update of its adult behavioral wing this month.

President Steve Jorgensen told the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce breakfast crowd Thursday that the new fourth-floor hospital unit will have 18 private rooms with single baths.

It’s replacing the current unit, built in 1969 with 11 double rooms.

“It’s very tired,” Jorgensen said. “It’s very institutional; instead of a healing environment, it’s a custodial environment and there’s inadequate group space.”

Spokesman Steve Costello said it’s going into space formerly used by the Oncology and Infusion Center before that center moved into a new wing.

“Although it is a renovation, it is more like a new build because of all the safety requirements,” he added. “It will be taken down to the studs and rebuilt to behavioral code specs.”

Fundraising for the project is ongoing with $1 million left to raise. It’s expected to open in the fall of 2021.

Quick hits about business comings, goings and happenings. Have a Buzzable tip? Contact staff writer Kathryn Skelton at 689-2844 or

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