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Rhode Islanders Raise a Pint, Welcome Narragansett Brewery Home

Curt Gowdy, an NBC Sports newscaster and voice of the Boston Red Sox for 15 seasons, introduces the 1950’s Narragansett Beer Jingle written for Red Sox baseball. The jingle and slogan “Hi neighbor” stuck and the slogan remains in use today.
Video courtesy Narragansett Beer

PAWTUCKET, RI – Narragansett Beer on Monday announced that it was bringing its beer-brewing operations home to Rhode Island.

“In the last 11 years we’ve thrown our 125th Anniversary party (and many others), met many of the old brewery workers, and even teamed up with our notable Brewmaster from the glory days, Bill Anderson, to learn the recipe that put Narragansett Beer on the map.” – Mark D. Hellendrung, CEO & President Narragansett Brewing Co.

Hellendrung broke the news over the weekend, revealing newly worked relocation plans on the company website. Previous plans were put on hold when the company’s chosen location in Providence burned to the ground.

Social media sites and local news outlets immediately blew up with the news. The resultant onslaught of reporting and well wishes served as a virtual ticker tape parade welcoming the Little Rhody-founded company home.

“As I write this, I’m sitting on the floor of what has been my office for the last 11 years,” Hellendrung began. Sitting amongst boxes and Narragansett Brewery memorabilia, the entrepreneur and revivalist started a new chapter in the Narragansett Beer Renaissance.

That chapter included an overnight move from the company’s Providence offices to new digs a few miles away in Pawtucket; the new home based just around the corner from where the company was founded in 1890.

The original company closed shop in Rhode Island in 1981. It was Hellendrung’s dream, brought to fruition with brewmaster, Sean Larkin that brought Narragansett Lager back to life.

Reminiscing in a letter to ‘Gansett consumers and fans, Hellendrung ran through memories of bygone days.

“The Hi Neighbor bus transporting bar patrons to Red Sox games. Larger than life characters like Curt Gowdy, Irene Hennessey, Dr. Seuss, Captain Quint, and the legend of part tour guide and part stand-up comedian John English. The memories are endless,” he wrote.

Housed at 461 Main Street, Pawtucket, the Rhode Island-based brewing facility will anchor the Isle Brewers Guild, a partner brewery that provides mid-to large size craft breweries an outlet for increased capacity, sales and distribution.

The new location at the Guild lies in the historic Church Hill Industrial District, an area just west of downtown Pawtucket.

A homecoming of historic proportions, the brewhouse digs are part of a larger revitalization within the city’s industrial village. The William H. Haskell Manufacturing complex, home to the Guild, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, having been erected between 1890 and 1920. Haskell manufacturing was the oldest continually operating bolt and cold-punched nut plant in the United States.

According to the company’s Twitter feed, on Monday ‘Gansett’s execution plan was underway, with employees enjoying lunch in their new Pawtucket offices.

An estimated $15 million project, construction is scheduled to begin mid-April on the 130,000 square foot facility which plans to focus on the craft-brewing side of the business. The company hopes to have the brew flowing at the new facility by August.

Naragansett’s anchor beer, Narragansett Lager will be brewed at its current facility in Rochester, New York, by the Genesee Brewing Company (Highfalls).

This article originally appeared on Examiner.com on April 5, 2016.

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