Hi neighbor, ’Gansett is back.
For the first time in 33 years, Rhode Island’s Narragansett Brewing Co. will be making beer in the Ocean State.
Company president Mark D. Hellendrung said Sunday on its website that the business offices would move this week from Providence to a 130,000-square-foot industrial complex in Pawtucket, where Narragansett will soon begin to brew small-batch and craft beers. The move was completed Monday.
For Hellendrung, it’s the fulfillment of a pledge to return Narragansett beer to its Rhode Island roots. In 2009, the company launched a “Drink Your Part” marketing campaign that urged those who wanted to see Narragansett make beer in Rhode Island again to buy a case — to help the company build a brewery.
“This has been more than just a business, more than just a brand,” Hellendrung said Monday. “It’s something that has been around for 125 years; it belongs as much to New England as it does to me, and so to kind of complete the promise of bringing brewing operations back to Rhode Island and the continuation of a century-and-a-quarter of rich history is beyond words, really.”
The sprawling industrial complex in Pawtucket, at 461 Main St. and known to locals as the Kellaway Center, was purchased in December for $1.25 million by business partners Jeremy Duffy and Devin Kelly, the owners of Isle Brewers Guild. Hellendrung said Narragansett is an investor in the partners’ $15 million plan to develop the campus, renamed The Guild, as a destination for local brewers and consumers.
Construction on Narragansett’s 100-barrel brewery and rehabilitation work at the facility is scheduled to begin April 11, with equipment scheduled to arrive in early May.
“We hope to be brewing beer in July and drinking it in August,” Hellendrung said.
In Pawtucket, Narragansett will brew smaller batches and craft styles, including seasonal items like its Town Beach IPA, Summertime Citra Ale, and Lovecraft series. The company’s flagship Narragansett Lager will continue to be brewed in Rochester, N.Y.
Narragansett’s new Pawtucket home has been a long time coming. Hellendrung said he searched for a site for seven years and looked at about 40 properties. Last year, when the company was a week away from signing a purchase agreement on a mill building in Providence, it was destroyed in a fire.
“It’s almost a comedy,” Hellendrung said. “We wanted a spot that showed the character of our 125 years history. We were fortunate to find this building” in Pawtucket.
Once opened, the first phase of the brewery will feature tours, a tasting room, a gift shop, and a Narragansett memorabilia exhibit space called the 1890 Room, named for the year the company was founded in Cranston, R.I.
The next phase, scheduled for 2017, will see the brewery get a tap room for sampling.
“We’re bringing a real historic brand back to life in a contemporary way,” Hellendrung said.Katheleen Conti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @GlobeKConti.