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‘Beer box’ with 50 taps for Maine brews going to Iceland aboard Eimskip

Maine beer will be shipped via Eimskip to ports in Europe, bringing Maine craft brews into new markets, and Icelandic beer will be featured at a Portland festival in July.

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...The Maine Beer Box, a branded shipping container with more than 50 taps built into its side, is the centerpiece of a multi-year effort between the Maine Brewers’ Guild and Eimskip, the Icelandic shipping company, to expose Maine beer to new markets and bring beers from Iceland and beyond back to the state.

...“As far as we know, this is the first time an entire state’s brewing community has come together to exchange beer with an entire country’s beer brewers,” said Sean Sullivan, executive director of the Maine Brewers’ Guild, during a Thursday news conference in the Maine International Trade Terminal in Portland.

“American craft beer is the hot thing in Europe and they are clamoring for it,” Sullivan said.

This June, the Beer Box will be filled with kegs from breweries across the state and shipped to Iceland for a major beer festival. The same container will return to Maine filled with beer from Iceland’s craft breweries in time for a Portland beer festival in July.

...With a population of roughly 323,000, Iceland is not the target market for Maine brewers, but the Beer Box’s maiden voyage is a test to prove if the project will work elsewhere, Sullivan said. Iceland only allowed low-alcohol-by-volume beers until 1989, but a fast-growing craft beer industry has developed in the last decade and now the country has about nine breweries, Sullivan said. Last fall, members of the guild’s executive committee toured the country and met personally with every brewer to get them on board with the exchange.

Beer accounts for 62 percent of the 7.1 liters of alcohol annually consumed by adults in Iceland, according to a 2014 World Health Organization report. That’s more than traditional beer drinking countries like Germany and the Czech Republic, where beer accounts for about 54 percent of alcohol consumed, and more than the U.S., where beer accounts for 50 percent, according to the report. ...see original coverage...