LEWISTON — Baxter Brewing Co.’s Luke Livingston announced Monday that he’s retiring from the brewery next month.
He has named Operations Manager Jenn Lever as the next company president.
“I’m antsy — I’ve never done anything for 10 years before and it just feels like the right time for Baxter and the right time for my family,” said Livingston, 34. “I haven’t been as involved in the day-to-day here in a couple years; I’ve been in this founder role for a while and Jenn really has been running the show, and so it just felt like the right time to make that official and give her a clean fresh start. I think we’re just collectively excited to see what is next for Baxter.”
The company, based in Bates Mill 1A, has 35-plus employees on the production side and 30 employees for its newly opened pub.
Livington, who lives in Falmouth, declined to comment on whether he’ll remain Baxter’s owner. He’s feeling out what he’d like to do next.
“Baxter, like the industry as a whole, there’s been a torrid pace recently of new beers and new projects from the brewery,” Livingston said. “If anything, the pace of that is just going to pick up. A lot of really exciting new beers and new partnerships in the works for the rest of this year and 2020 that I’m excited to be on the other side of the bar for.”
Livingston founded Baxter in the Bates Mill in 2010 and the next year it received the 16th brewery license in Maine. Craft beer has boomed in Maine in the decade since.
Baxter was the first brewery in New England to package its beer only in cans and brewed 5,000 barrels in its first year, a then-record for a first-year brewery, according to a news release.
Livingston was named to Forbes’ “30 Under 30” list of entrepreneurs in 2011. His retirement is effective Sept. 13, the same day the company will celebrate having brewed 100,000 barrels of its Stowaway IPA.
Lever is an Auburn native and former high school classmate. She’s been operations manager for several years.
“I take a lot of pride in the fact that Baxter will become a woman-led company, under any circumstances, but especially in this otherwise fairly male-dominated industry,” Livingston said in the news release. “I’m really proud of the hundreds of people who have worked on or at the brewery and that so many alumni have gone on to great careers elsewhere in the industry. We’ll all keep fighting the good, craft fight.”