Rhode Island’s largest beer brewer just opened another location. And this time, it’s got a waterfront view.
The Guild Brewing Company, which has a massive facility in Pawtucket and an outdoor beer garden in Providence, cut the ribbon Sept. 1 on a 5,500-square-foot brewery and beer hall overlooking the Palmer River along Water Street in Warren.
The newest location seats 180 people and features a seven-barrel, small-batch brewing system to create in-house beers and seltzers. The larger Pawtucket campus opened in 2017 with a 100-barrel system, which allows The Guild to brew beer for a growing roster of partner brands.
We talked to Guild cofounders Jeremy Duffy and Devin Kelly about its expansion.
(And in case you were wondering, Narragansett is the most famous Rhode Island beer, but it is largely brewed in New York.)
Q. What made you decide to expand to Warren.
Duffy: The short answer: We don’t think it’s a stretch to assume a whole lot of Rhode Islanders would enjoy drinking a beer on the water.
The longer answer: We opened our Pawtucket brewing campus in 2017, and fortunately, it’s worked out. We developed great, long-term relationships with a number of brewing partners, and our beer hall, outdoor beer garden, and special events spaces quickly evolved into popular spots for craft beer lovers in Rhode Island and around the region.
That early success gave us the confidence that we could bring The Guild Brewing Company’s model and community atmosphere to other locations. Last year, we expanded to Providence with our outdoor beer garden along the Providence River, and now we’re excited to join the fast-growing food and beverage scene in Warren.
Q. In Pawtucket, you don’t just brew your own beer. You provide brewing services to other companies. Should we expect the same in Warren?
Kelly: We will be brewing beer in Warren, but the big difference from Pawtucket is scale. Our Pawtucket campus features a 100-barrel brewing system, which is one of the largest craft beer systems in the nation. That system is exclusively used to brew, package, and distribute our partners’ brands. The Pawtucket facility also has a 10-barrel system that our team uses to brew The Guild Brewing Company branded beers.
Q. It feels like new breweries are popping up all over New England, especially in Rhode Island. At the same time, we’re seeing a surge in nonbeer products, like alcoholic seltzers. Give us a prediction on the future of beer in the US.
Duffy: We can make as many predictions as we want, but the future of the industry is going to be up to the customer. You hit on two macro trends:
1) New breweries keep popping up because there’s strong demand for physical spaces where consumers can purchase their favorite beers directly from the source, and
2) All of these breweries, ourselves included, are constantly evolving to keep up with changing consumer tastes.
Hard seltzers have shown incredible growth over the last decade or so as consumers look for lighter alternatives. At the same time, craft beer drinkers who fell in love with the community on the back of, say, their favorite New England IPA are now expecting more options like craft lagers or stouts. Moving forward, brewers will continue coming up with great beers, and customers’ tastes will continue to change. Our goal, and our job, at The Guild Brewing Company is to listen.
Q. Are you scouting any other locations in the region?
Kelly: We’re going to take some time to exhale, and think about what comes next. One thing we know for sure is that, whatever our next steps are, our goal is to continue adding some sort of real value to the craft beer community at large. The opportunity to meet, work with, or simply pour beers for so many passionate, interesting people has been one of the joys of our careers — and we want to keep that going.
Dan McGowan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @danmcgowan.