In 1992, Fred Forsley, a Gray, Maine, native and real estate entrepreneur, opened the Kennebunkport Brewing Co. and the Federal Jack’s brewpub above it in Kennebunk, along the coast and next to the port community the Bush family made famous. It was one of the first brewpubs in what would become one of the union’s most heralded beer states. Forsley hired an Englishman named Alan Pugsley as a consultant on the equipment and the beers.
The move proved fortuitous, though it must have been a no-brainer at the time. Pugsley, a biochemist and brewer from Manchester, was a top brewing consultant on both sides of the Atlantic. He had helped popularize the so-called Ringwood yeast, and had several years earlier devised the beers for the oldest “craft” brewery in Maine—and, later, the entire eastern United States—the D.L. Geary Brewing Co. in Portland.
It was to there that Forsley and Pugsley headed in 1994, when the popularity of Kennebunkport and Federal Jack’s proved too much for the current operation’s capacity. They took over an old foundry building a stone’s throw from the Atlantic Ocean, and the Shipyard Brewing Co. was soon born.