State Distribution Laws


License Needed to Self-Distribute: Yes
Statute: 28-A M.R.S. § 1355-A

Maine Statute

In Maine, brewers who hold a small brewers license (eligible for breweries that produce less than 30,000 barrels per year) are permitted to self-distribute to retailers. Brewers that produce more than 30,000 barrels per year are not eligible for a small brewers license and are not permitted to self-distribute.

Maine also has rules governing the brewer/distributor relationship. Brewers are required to provide their distributors with exclusive territories, and must file a list of their distributors with the state. Brewers are also prohibited from:

  • forcing a distributor to accept products they haven’t ordered
  • restricting a distributor from purchasing other products as a condition of purchasing their products
  • fixing the resale prices the distributors must sell their products at
  • requiring or prohibiting a change in management of the distributor unless the manager does not meet their reasonable and standard criteria
  • restricting free association among distributors, and
  • unreasonably withholding their consent to a transfer of the distributor’s business

Brewers cannot modify, terminate or fail to renew a distribution agreement without good cause. Some examples of good cause include the distributor filing for bankruptcy, losing their license, or failing to comply with a reasonable and material provision of their distribution agreement. Except in instances where the distributor files for bankruptcy, loses their license, or is convicted of a felony, a brewer must provide a distributor with written notice of any claimed issues or breaches of the distribution agreement, and provide the distributor with a reasonable chance to correct the issue prior to terminating the distribution agreement.

If a brewer modifies, terminates or fails to renew a distribution agreement without good cause, the brewer must compensate the distributor for the fair market value of the affected portion of the distributor’s business. Alternatively, if the brewer is a small brewery, the compensation owed to the distributor may be based on the distributor’s total gross profits with respect to the brewer’s brands. If the brewer and distributor cannot agree on reasonable compensation, they will need to arbitrate the matter.

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Fun Fact: Alcohol cannot be sold on Sundays before 9am. Unless St. Patrick’s Day happens to fall on a Sunday, in which case alcohol sales can begin as early as 6am.