Show me ME: Meridians in Fairfield

While some Colby students are content to force-feed themselves watered down Natty Lights, others are more concerned with the taste, quality, and character of the fermented beverages they choose to consume. For the more ‘refined’ students, Meridians: Wine, Beer, Food in nearby Fairfield, offers a wide array of locally sourced beers, wines, and spirits designed to please the palate of any picky drinker. In an email interview with the Echo, Meridians Co-owner Josh Sullivan discussed the store’s offerings.

“We offer unique but accessible wine, beer, and ciders that you won’t find in any supermarket or even other comparable businesses in the area,” Sullivan said, naming the store’s other two owners, David Gulak and Nate McNab. He went on to describe the impressive selection available at the store. “In regards to wine, a large portion of what we sell is farmed and produced by small growers who often utilize organic, biodynamic, or at least sustainable practices. We work hard to cut through much of the smoke and mirrors of the wine world to bring customers honest, hand-crafted wines that can be accessed at just about any price range. The same goes for our cider selection. For beer, we’re always at the forefront of the ever-evolving craft beer movement, bringing in very limited, small batch beers from Maine and beyond.”   Sullivan divulged that Meridians does not “carry Bissell Brothers (the perennial question) but we carry every other high-caliber Maine brewer, and we even drive to Portland to fetch what can’t be had up here otherwise. But, lest one think we only focus on hoppy beers, we also have plenty of dark beers, old world offerings, beers made by innovative farm-to-bottle brewers, and just about any other brew you’d search for.”

What started as an entrepreneurial dream for farmers Sullivan, Gulak, and McNab became a reality in 2014, when, according to the shop’s website, the three men created a store that provided “central Maine with fine wine, beer, and foods that deliver not only fantastic tastes and experiences, but also stories about land, people, and places.” They now work together to run Meridians, always keeping in mind their connection to nature and dedication to the state as they evaluate the process through which products to be sold in the store are cultivated. Sullivan explained that the part of the store with which he is most thrilled is the “natural wine movement” among farmers he works with, and its push for “low-intervention” wine production.

“Vintners aiming for the ‘natural’ standard often practice strictly organic and biodynamic growing methods, or even more low-intervention practices than these,” Sullivan said. “They also use very minimal oak, sulfites, and other additions that substantially alter the character of a wine, and they often allow for spontaneous or native-yeast fermentation to occur. What the customer buys is then a wine that is a wholly clean (not simply in a green-washing sense of the word) and will have a character native to the place and people that produced it. These wines are lively, juicy, fun, earthy, and full of life, and they support a branch of the wine industry that seeks to mitigate environmental hazards rather than add to them.”

In addition to their extensive wine, beer, and spirit collection, Meridians also offers a selection of artisanal and locally sourced foods. More importantly, explained Sullivan, Meridians hosts frequent tastings. “Show up and drink!” Sullivan said, describing the nature of their sampling events. “They’re casual and free of cost. We typically pour six wines or so, and sometime beer and cider as well. The tastings usually have a theme that creates some continuity between our offerings, and we try to educate folks while we’re drinking and having fun. They run from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on different days of the week, and we have an e news that folks can add themselves to if they wish.” Sullivan added that tastings usually occur about three times a month, and are usually advertised beforehand on their Facebook and Twitter pages. All events are ages 21+ and attendees must bring a form of identification.

For the aforementioned Colby students who are less concerned with the taste of alcohol and more concerned with its cerebral effects, Sullivan assured that Meridians can also cater to those without appreciation for the story of a beer. “We can get kegs! We don’t have a substantial amount of cold storage, so we do this on an order-based system so we can arrange same or next day pickups, but we’ll snag anything a customer wants. From the finest craft to basic domestic beer, we can hook it up.” Sullivan added that the shop also offers a wide range of artisanal foods, for those underage. “For anyone who considers themselves a fan of cheese, we have the best selection for a long ways in any direction. We also have a lot of other great food items, much of it produced in Maine.”

Meridians is located at 151 Main Street in Fairfield, and can be contacted at (207) 238-0254, on their website, or on their Facebook page.