Oral History: Oak Pond Brewing Co.

Interview Summary

Nancy Chandler explains how she and her late husband, Don, came to own Oak Pond Brewing Co. in Skowhegan. Chandler describes how Oak Pond is different from many of the newer craft breweries that have popped up in Maine. Oak Pond sticks to brewing traditional recipes rather than experimenting with the newest beer trends. Their beer is on tap at several local restaurants; one even uses a few of Chandler’s dinner recipes. Chandler describes the typical clientele found at Oak Pond. She tells us how Adam, her son, started working at the brewery when his father became ill.

Nancy Chandler explains how she came to be the most experienced female brewer in Maine. She describes her typical workweek and the process of brewing with older equipment. She explains how Oak Pond is able to maintain consistent quality in their beer because they have been using many of the same recipes since they began. Chandler outlines where they source their ingredients and why they choose to import many of them. She talks about Oak Pond’s distribution size and how she does not have a desire to scale up in production. Chandler also weighs in on the current relationship between craft breweries and mega-breweries and expresses her hope that Oak Pond will remain in the family when she is no longer able to run it. She remarks on the differences between Oak Pond and many of the newer craft breweries and the change in clientele that the recent rise in popularity of craft beer has brought. She describes her favorite parts of owning a brewery as well as the most challenging aspects. Lastly, Chandler gives her opinion on the future of craft brewing. 

The interview was conducted by Ella Hommeyer and Drew Williamson in October 2019.