1987 seems like a long time ago. It probably is. But in 1987 Keith and Constance (pictured above) got married and I was their photographer at Our Lady Queen of Peace. They became Mr. and Mrs. Bodine. In the scheme of things, I suppose, 31 years isn't all that long ago, but a lot has happened in the years since Keith and Constance got married.
They always wanted to live in Maine and raise their family here. They have. They also wanted to start their own winery and distillery. They've done that too. Sweetgrass Winery and Distillery in Union, Maine. They bought an old farmhouse with a huge attached barn and proceeded to create their new life and family.
Keith studied chemistry and wine making. He supervised and consulted all over the world, helping people with their businesses and processes, making them better and creating markets for their products. When it came to applying his skill and knowledge at Sweetgrass, he was ready to roll. And Constance managed everything else.
Constance's mother was a Lewis. She and Bob Pike were cousins, but more like brother and sister. They all summered near one another on Back River where homes were built and memories for a lifetime created. The house is still there and so is Bob Pike, last I checked.
Sweetgrass has done well. An entire product line includes “Back River Gin,” a highly acclaimed
beverage that has won great recognition world wide. Last week, after seven years in oak barrels, Sweetgrass unveiled their newest old product, “SUNK HAZE,” a single malt whiskey. It’s the first whiskey (legally) made in Maine since Prohibition. Over 250 people visited Sweetgrass Winery to sample and purchase the new product. There were guests from as far away as Virginia and Pennsylvania. It was a much anticipated event.
SUNK HAZE is all Maine. From one distillery and one batch --- not a blend. It took five years to convince farmers to grow a barley to accommodate our shorter growing season. I was there to record Keith mixing the first ingredients. What a thrill to return for the finished product. It is a limited production. Next year, and years to follow, more will age and be available. SUNK HAZE can be purchased directly from Sweetgrasss in Union or at their “Tasting Room” in Portland's Old Port. And for added excitement, Keith and Constance chose to use one of my photographs for their label. SUNK HAZE is a low point near the St. George River in Union.