Stonington Lobster Company Expands into Bucksport

Greenhead lobster president Hugh Reynolds
Greenhead lobster president Hugh Reynolds cuts a big ribbon at the opening of the company’s new plant in Bucksport. Photo courtesy of the Castine Patriot.

Hugh Reynolds exudes energy. The president of Stonington-based Greenhead Lobster talks fast, moves fast, and gives the impression of a man who knows where he’s going. And one place he’s going to is Bucksport, where the company in late July opened a new 15,000-square foot lobster processing plant in the Bucktown Heritage Park.

“I’ve been in the business 22 years, primarily in live lobster,” Reynolds said. “We’re changing now, concentrating on the domestic market and ‘Made in Maine’.” The new plant will use high-pressure processing equipment to produce flash frozen raw tails and fresh cooked lobster claws and knuckle meat. “We will use a proprietary technology to ensure an extended shelf life for the claws and knuckles,” Reynolds added.

Some might wonder why Reynolds would open a new plant so far from his home base in Stonington. The answer is simple. “Bucksport is the closest location to Stonington with adequate water and sewer infrastructure,” he explained. “We will need between 8,000 and 12,000 gallons of water per day just for hygiene. Finding enough labor and sewer connections in Stonington were obstacles that we could overcome with enough money. But ultimately the one thing we couldn’t overcome there is finding enough water.”

It’s not the first time that Reynolds has set up shop away from Stonington. In 2016 Greenhead Lobster opened a 20,000-square-foot lobster holding facility in Seabrook, New Hampshire, just 30 miles from Logan International Airport in Boston. Proximity gave Greenhead the ability to ship live lobsters with minimal delay to anywhere in the world, particularly to the then-burgeoning Asian market.

“I won’t beat around the bush, the tariffs [retaliatory tariffs imposed by China on American goods] have hurt exports to China. Canada is making up for it,” Reynolds said. “The new plant is one way to capture the value of lobster for the domestic market.” The Bucksport facility will run nine months each year, employ approximately 40 people and process between 2 and 3 million lobsters in its first year, according to Reynolds.