Jeff and Pam Powers of Bigelow Brewing Co. are shown in 2019 in downtown Skowhegan. Jeff Powers died suddenly Tuesday, according to a statement on the brewery’s Facebook page. He was 61. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel file

SKOWHEGAN — Jeff Powers, who with his wife, Pam, founded the popular Bigelow Brewing Co. and built it into one of the leading craft breweries in Maine, died suddenly Tuesday. He was 61.

His death was announced on the brewery’s Facebook page. No cause of death was given.

Bigelow Brewing Co. grew from modest beginnings, with Pam Powers feeding her husband’s burgeoning interest in brewing by giving him a home brewing kit for Christmas in 1989, according to the brewery’s website.

Jeff Powers knew soon afterward he wanted to open a brewery. That day came in 2014 when the couple, both 52 at the time, launched a microbrewery out of their barn, featuring two brews called Lying Bastard and Dementia Dog, which are still brewed.

The couple would go on to create one of the top breweries in Maine, distributing to more than 700 locations. They focused on using ingredients and goods made by regional producers and were active in the community by supporting various causes.

Plans are underway to relocate the brewery to the former Solon Manufacturing mill on the island in downtown Skowhegan. It was not clear Thursday if Powers’ death will affect the relocation.


“Our Bigelow family is struggling to come to grips with the loss of such a compassionate, loyal, hardworking man,” said the statement on Facebook. “He will be missed every day by his family and the Skowhegan community.”

Samantha Spencer, an employee of the brewery for 16 months, said the company will persevere, but will never be the same.

“When I first started working at Bigelow, (Jeff Powers) and his entire family made me feel like a part of their family,” Spencer said Thursday. “I think if it were anyone else that ran Bigelow, it wouldn’t be what it is.”

Jeff Powers, left, owner of Bigelow Brewing Co., pours beer samples for patrons earlier this month at the Skowhegan Craft Brew Festival in downtown Skowhegan. Powers died suddenly Tuesday, according to a statement on the brewery’s Facebook page. He was 61. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel file

Powers was a leader in Maine’s craft brewing scene, lending his skill and knowledge to other brewers with similar ambitions. Those at many craft breweries across the state shared their condolences on social media Thursday, telling stories of Powers’ kindness and willingness to help other breweries grow.

“He was always the first one to jump in and help when someone needed it — especially when it came to business,” Spencer said. “He wanted to see people thrive like he did.”

The sentiment was shared by Mike Holland, co-owner and head brewer at Outland Farm Brewery in Pittsfield. When Holland and his wife moved to Maine to launch Outland Farm, Jeff Powers was vital in helping them gain a foothold, quickly lending a hand and offering advice.


“Jeff and Pam were always really inviting, willing to share any insights, trials and tribulations and what not to do, which is more important than what to do,” Holland said Thursday. “Jeff was always quick to give advice. We swapped ingredients all the time.

“I think Jeff’s a perfect example of what it means to be a brewery owner in the state of Maine.”

At the Skowhegan Craft Brew Festival earlier this month, Powers said he never saw other brewers as competition, but as friends.

“All of the brewers, we all get along. I mean, it’s not about us and them. It’s about doing what we love,” Powers told the Morning Sentinel. “We’re doing what we love to do, and we help each other.”

The public is invited to attend a memorial service scheduled to begin at noon Saturday, Sept. 30, at the brewery at 473 Bigelow Hill Road in Skowhegan.

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