My usual weeknight plans include going home and melting into my couch. I save my weekends for fun excursions, but lately I’ve realized that a lot happens in Bangor during the week. Last Tuesday I went down to the Bangor waterfront and listened to the Bangor Band, and this Tuesday I attended another weeknight event to enjoy after work hours: Bangor Greendrinks.
I left the office at 5 p.m. and walked over to Verve in downtown to meet my friend, Cassie, who reminded me about the event, which conveniently fell on her birthday. People were already milling about Verve, the host location of the Tuesday event, with cups of beer in hand and smiles on their faces.
I had heard of the organization before, but I wasn’t sure what exactly it was, so I introduced myself to the Greendrinks organizers. Ethan Tremblay, the board chair of the nonprofit, told me what it was all about.
“It’s kind of a movement and kind of an organization,” Ethan explained. Greendrinks started in London years ago as a networking event for those interested in sustainability. People would gather for drinks, snacks and conversation. Bangor Greendrinks began six years ago.
“When it started out it was just a group of people who said, ‘Hey, we can get people downtown to drink beer together and talk about sustainability, talk about businesses doing really cool things, nonprofits doing really cool things. … It took off and got way hotter than anyone expected,” Ethan said.
All the events focus on growing sustainable local businesses and also provide networking opportunities. Those who attend Greendrinks events can make a suggested donation of $5 and get two local beers from whatever the organization has on tap that particular night. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own vessels to cut down on waste, but there are also bioplastic cups available for purchase. On Tuesday I refrained from beer drinking, but Cassie bought herself a cup and got it filled up first with Elwood Brown beer from Orono Brewing Co., which is owned by Abe and Heather Furth and Mark Horton. Verve, the host location for the night, also is owned by the Furths.
Because Greendrinks is about supporting local businesses, this particular event was to welcome Orono Brewing to downtown Bangor and raise awareness about the Bangor Land Trust and Pedal the Penobscot. Orono Brewing Co.’s new location on 26 State St. is being renovated, and Abe Furth told me their goal is to open in late July. The event included sneak peek tours of the inside of the new space, including the main floor of the business, the basement where brewmaster Asa Marsh-Sachs will be able to expand the company’s beer offerings and the rooftop deck overlooking downtown.
After the tour, which required a short jaunt through downtown to get to the State Street location, we returned to Verve and enjoyed some snacks.
Some attendees of the event were wearing shirts representing the Bangor Land Trust, which was founded in 2001 and owns and conserves over 800 acres of land in the Bangor area. Their annual Pedal the Penobscot Road Ride will take place on Sept. 11.
Perhaps the best thing about Greendrinks is what it does for the community. The funds raised by the events are given back through Green Grants, which support projects that make the community more sustainable. Greendrinks has provided grants that have brought public water fountains to the Bangor Waterfront and cigarette disposal receptacles and bike racks to downtown. Each of their projects has a distinctive look — you can spot them by looking for the organization’s Paul Bunyan logo. For example, they recently helped install green-topped recycling bins in downtown. They even provided a grant to help the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter purchase an industrial-grade dishwasher, which helped the shelter avoid plastic waste and saved them money, among many other ventures.
Tuesday evening’s festivities were a “bonus” Greendrinks. The event usually only takes place the second Tuesday of every month, but this extra event raised money for a special cause: expanded bicycle infrastructure in downtown.
I wasn’t able to stay for the whole evening, but that’s what’s also great about it. The event was from 5 to 8 p.m., and anyone was welcome to stroll in or head home at any time.
Ethan explained to me that Greendrinks is a great event for anyone but especially for people who are new to the community — like me.
“It’s one of the easiest ways to meet people who are excited about the community,” Ethan told me.
“Everyone is open to meeting new people. Drinking beers doesn’t hurt, either,” Heather Furth said with a laugh.
The next Greendrinks event will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 12, at the waterfront concert venue and, as always, attendees can expect local beer, snacks and conversation.