DIRIGO STORIES: B&M celebrates 150 years of business

The iconic plant in Portland continues to produce thousands of cans of brick oven baked beans every year. B&M turned 150 years old in March (WGME). 

PORTLAND (WGME) – An iconic part of the Portland landscape is celebrating 150 years in business.

The historic B&M plant, on the waters of the city’s Back Cove, continues to make its staple “Brick Oven Baked Beans.”

“I love this stuff, the beans are just pretty,” said Quality Control Supervisor David Mastrianno.

Mastrianno gave CBS 13 a behind-the-scenes tour of the factory in honor of the company’s 150th anniversary this year. He says they continue to cook their beans in 60 brick ovens for three hours with employees hand stirring the beans every so often.

“I think it's as close to you can get to a homemade product in a factory,” Mastrianno said.

The 80 B&M employees keep the process going year after year, and Mastrianno says that’s one key to their success.

“It’s a great group of people. I look forward to coming to work every day.”

The Burnham and Morrill Company was founded in March 1867 when George Burnham and Charles S. Morrill brought their business background together. Burnham worked packaging meat and fish, and Morrill worked canning corn. Their first plant was on Franklin Street in Portland.

But by the early nineteenth century they outgrew the space, and built the plant’s current home in 1913. In 1927, the company started selling its signature brick oven baked beans.

“You see everything change,” said Tom Coreau, a B&M Machinist who will celebrate his 50th anniversary with the company on October 3.

Coreau has worked in nearly every department at the company. He’s seen it downsize from 400 employees to 80, but says he’s always enjoyed coming to work.

“It’s a good job, but now it’s time to go,” said Coreau, who plans to retire this year. “They don’t want me to, though.”

“We have a lot of employees who have hit 25 years here,” said Mastrianno. “I hope to be one of them.”

Now owned by B&G Foods, the bean makers also produce products for Accent. The plant is a New England landmark and is seen by thousands of drivers passing Tukey’s Bridge on I-295 every day.

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