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A message from Paul, our Lead Tour Guide & “beverage consultant”

My name is Paul, and since March of 2015, I have been referring to myself as a “beverage consultant” for the Maine Brew Bus.

A picture from one of Paul’s first tours working aboard The Maine Brew Bus. 

This past weekend the brew bus visited Dirigo Brewing Company in Biddeford, Maine, and for the first time, I found myself on the other side of the taproom bar.

This is because I recently accepted a position as tasting room ambassador for Dirigo. This transition has me taking stock of the whirlwind that has been the past year-and-a-half with Team Brew Bus.

Paul leading a tour at Rising Tide with Leah.

Guests would often remark that I “have the best job in the world“. While I wholeheartedly agree, a lot of behind-the-scenes work has gone into each and every tour.

Early on, brew bus veteran Adam Callaghan took me under his wing to teach me the ins-and-outs of conducting tours. With Adam’s guidance, I overcame my fear of public speaking and gained the confidence to lead tours on my own.

Paul always tried to take creative pictures of our groups.

Comprehensive staff trainings, often taught by Cicerone-certified members of our own crew, on all things brew (styles, ingredients, processes, techniques, history, etc.) further increased my knowledge base.

But perhaps the most valuable of all have been the insights I’ve gleaned by visiting the actual producers on a regular basis. Picking up little tidbits here and there from so many informed voices, my goal became to weave all of this information into a coherent and interesting story in a unique and fun way for every single guest that has ever hopped aboard the Maine Brew Bus while I’ve been at the helm. Believe me when I say that “research” has never tasted so good!

Also, Paul is a master of the unique selfie.

How lucky am I to work in such a robust, creative, and collaborative industry!?! Answer: wicked lucky!

Maine has world-class, award-winning, boundary-smashing craft alcohol producers, and I get to work alongside amazing people who are all working tirelessly to make “Maine brew” greater than the sum of its parts.

Recently Paul was driving one of our tours, but made sure to impart as much knowledge as he could to the group. 

I owe a huge thank you to not only the people who have taken the risk to build these facilities from the ground up, as well as those who make and deliver the product, but also to my fellow ambassadors, the authors and bloggers, the Maine Brewers and Distillers Guilds, and (last but not least) Zach, Don, and the entire team at the Maine Brew Bus for letting me into your world!

All of us at The Maine Brew Bus want to give a hearty thanks and a big cheers to Paul for being part of our team and working to help our drivers and guides become better on their tours!

So now I’ll be carrying the “Maine beer” torch at Dirigo Brewing Company. Next time you’re in the area, stop in, and it may very well be me who greets you with a warm smile and a cold beer! Or better yet, get on the Maine Brew Bus and let them drive you to drink local!

To learn more about Dirigo Brewing Company, including some interesting background information, please check out this blog post from February of this year.

Paul O’Donnell of Dirigo Brewing Company has been with the Maine Brew Bus since March of 2015, most recently serving in the role of Lead Tour Guide. In this position he was responsible for developing expectation standards for drivers and guides, and also for conducting evaluations to help with improving the overall guest experience. We are very excited for this newest phase of his contribution to the Maine craft beer industry!