Bissell Brothers – Sibling Rivalries Make Great Beer; Entry 067

Bissell Brothers – Sibling Rivalries Make Great Beer; Entry 067

In this episode I sit down with Peter Bissell, co-founder of Bissell Brothers brewing in Portland Maine, and discuss what it takes to bring beer to the masses.

Peter and his brother Noah have come a long since first opening Bissell Brothers at 1 Industrial Way. They’ve relocated to Thompson’s Point and are surrounded Peter Bissellby an eclectic gathering of business ranging from a circus conservatory training performers to an international museum of cryptozoology. But locations aren’t all that have changed for Peter and his brother. Their relationship had to evolve and be reshaped during the 2 year process of getting their brewery up and running. Peter goes in depth on what it takes to handle the stresses of opening a brewery while learning to accept a new concept of his brother and a new concept of himself as well. Through all of these trials, self-acceptance, and success Peter has learned to stay in awe of the brewing process and patrons sitting down and drinking from their glassware.

Round 1: Dangol –  Adjunct Ale With Lime (ABV 5%) This beer was inspired a bit by Bud Light Lime. They wanted to ferment with something other than malted grain, and went with rice and corn to add a specific kind of thinness to the ale. Peter and friends have to zest 400 pounds of limes for each batch, making the beer great for summertime activities. They find that this is a great gateway beer for people who haven’t taken the plunge into the craft beer scene and Bissell loved the challenge of experimenting and taking risks with a new brew.

Round 2:  Sibling Partnership Story – Peter and his brother, Noah, have discovered a lot about each other in the process of opening Bissell Brothers. It took img_33532 years to go from the brewery concept to actually opening, and much of that work happened between February and December of 2013. It’s not hard to imagine the kind of stress that places on a relationship. Peter had to “renegotiate” his relationship with his brother in a lot of ways—shedding preconceived notions of Noah that he had held growing up with him. But in learning to accept one another’s traits and their different styles of handling problems and stress, Peter and Noah learned the technical aspects of brewing and successfully launched Bissell Brothers (even if they still didn’t quite know what they were doing on opening day).

Round 3: Beer Memories – Peter remembers brewing at 1 Industrial Way and the smell of fermentation in November. He was learning the equipment and process of how to brew from Michael LaCharite. Every day he was being exposed to something new whether it was a fresh brew or the machinery of their canning line. He remembers unloading their first cans by hand because they didn’t have a forklift at the time. Peter fainted at one of their first tastings and fainted due to succumbing to the terror of figuring out how to keg the beer properly. Those days were full of incredible highs and lows, they spend everything they had to open and it took effort not to get jaded while barely being able to pay themselves. 

Round 4: Q & A

Question 1: Who is your hero?

Amanda – Two (very flawed) people that I consider to be my heroes would be Johnny Cash and Walt Disney. Both were able to inspire so many people and accomplish incredible dreams despite great resistance and their own issues.

Question 2: If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?

Peter—Steak tips, grilled medium with sea salt, black pepper, and chimichurri – that’s everything he needs.


Bissel Brothers Brewing

Michael LaCharite Episode

Thompsons Point

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  • John White aka J-Dub Posted October 19, 2016 11:25 am

    So just wanted to drop you a quick note. Just listened to the Peter Bissell show about working with siblings. I work for my brother Mike, have for 6 years. He owns a couple of businesses, one of which is White Family Freight, a contractor of FedEx Ground .. his business has seen tremendous growth over the 7 or 8 years he’s owned it. He hired me to be a full time delivery driver back in March of 2011. I was skeptical at first and had to be assured by my father that he thought Mike and I could co-exist on an employee/employer level while being siblings. There definitely were a few “blowups” at first like Peter talked about with Noah. He then moved me into a management position in the spring of 2015. He is my business partner moving forward as I continue to strive towards developing and opening Aroostook Brewing Company! Awesome episode, Bissells are my favs out of all the amazing Maine beer. Cheers!

    • Amanda Doughty Posted October 21, 2016 2:28 pm

      Hey John! Thank you so much for sharing. I am super stoked to hear that it is all working out well and am excited to see what comes of Aroostook Brewing Company!

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