Bissell Brothers Brewing, Three Rivers named 2023 Chamber Business of the Year

DOVER-FOXCROFT — In recognition of its impact on the local and regional economy and numerous efforts to give back to the community, Bissell Brothers Brewing, Three Rivers of Milo has been selected as the Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce 2023 Business of the Year. The establishment was recognized during the Chamber’s annual awards ceremony on the evening of Oct. 19 at the Central Hall Commons.

Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce President Matthew Spooner said the organization reaches out to ask for nominations for the Business of the Year — with the recipient selected based on criteria such as a commitment to growth, support of employees, and deep concern for community — and this year Bissell Brothers was selected. 

“Since their move to Milo, Bissell Brothers has partnered with multiple community organizations for Milo’s benefit such as the historical society, regional food center, and I think there’s another eight or nine listed here,” Spooner said, with the organization having donated close to $300,000 to Maine-based organizations in the last few years.

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
BUSINESS OF THE YEAR — Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce President Matthew Spooner reads a plaque for Bissell Brothers Brewing, Three Rivers of Milo recognizing it as the 2023 Business of the Year during the annual awards ceremony at the Central Hall Commons in Dover-Foxcroft on Oct. 19.

Spooner mentioned Bissell Brothers is known for its loyalty to the state’s food and farm. “It’s not just what we’re drinking but it’s what we’re eating, local product,” he said.

Following congratulations videos and written remarks from U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, and U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, D-Maine, all Bissell Brothers staff present got up from two front tables to come forward and receive the award.

“Ultimately with Bissell Brothers Brewing, Three Rivers, Pete and I got this crazy idea that we independently both believed in and really the reason we are here today is the people at these two tables right here,” Noah Bissell said.

Peter Bissell explained how their business grew in its first years in Portland.“We both came to the conclusion that we had to put this in Milo, there was no other option,” he said about their hometown.

Mentioning how Portland has become a top destination for food and drink, Peter Bissell said he and his brother came to the conclusion that everyone should have fine dining. “People at home should have access to this kind of experience, and it seemed kind of like a pipe dream at the time but we both had the idea of ‘let’s move to Milo,’’’ he said, with the Piscataquis County production-facility and taproom opening in 2018.

Thanking all the Bissell Brothers staff — the Three Rivers location is operated by eight full-time employees and two part-time employees — Peter Bissell said, “This area is such a beautiful place to live in and it has so many benefits.” 

He continued, “We are just trying to do our part to keep the community vibrant.” 

Saying the area is in transition with mills closed and the railroad industry not being what it used to be, Bissell said small businesses are key to economic revitalization. He encouraged those thinking of starting a business to go ahead.

“This area needs entrepreneurial talent and initiative and I really do think it’s such an important driver of our economy,” Bissell said.

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