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Case Study: Rising Tide Brewing Co.

Nathan Sanborn of Rising Tide Brewing Co. looks back at his decade of brewing to see the future. From changes in packaging to walking the line between core beers and fads, above all else, he cares about quality and sees it as the driver of his success.

John Holl Mar 19, 2019 - 10 min read

Case Study: Rising Tide Brewing Co.  Primary Image

Photo by Mike Sardina

In less than a decade in business, Nathan Sanborn has modified, disregarded, or completely shredded his business plan, all while trying to keep up with the whipsaw machinations that have been craft beer of late. Throughout it all, the founder, co-owner, and director of brewing operations at Rising Tide Brewing Company in Portland, Maine, has focused on quality about all else.

That sounds quaint, or like something that every brewer should say, but Sanborn and his brewery walk the walk, and it’s one reason that as Maine’s beer industry has grown, they’ve managed to grow and thrive in a crowded, often-focused-on-flash-in-the-pan market.

“In the grand scheme of the third wave of craft, we’re Old School,” he says. “When we started, there were maybe thirty breweries in the state, and now we have 130. Back then, there was a focus on your core beers, the ones that anchored your portfolio. Today we’re doing that, but we’re also producing a lot of one-offs. We need to balance between those things.”

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John Holl is the author of Drink Beer, Think Beer: Getting to the Bottom of Every Pint, and has worked for both Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine® and All About Beer Magazine.