Nov 2009

Who Knew The Old Brewery Went Green

Ever thought of building a house out of recycled wood from the vats at the old Narragansett brewery? Well South Mountain Company on Martha’s Vineyard certainly did. While reading the article, “For The Love Of Plants,” in Martha’s Vineyard Magazine’s Home & Garden, we noticed that South Mountain Company constructed a greenhouse for the Jahries residence in West Tisbury out of redwood from the old beer vats at the Cranston brewery.

South Mountain is an employee owned, integrated architecture, building, and renewable energy company for 35 years.
When reaching out to John Abrams, CEO and Owner of South Mountain, we learned that they have a whole inventory of
this wood stock piled. According to Abrams, South Mountain received this wood from the Cataumet Sawmill in
Hatchville, MA. Not only was this used for the Jahries greenhouse, but Abrams mentioned they have used it on
numerous projects including cabinetry and other housing on the island.

Abrams said that old tanks are super-high quality wood and the ones used for making beer are best of all. “We have
wood that was used in vats for making pickles and wine, but beer tanks…those are just perfect,” said Abrams. The
wood from pickle and wine tanks still contain salt and sugar which can lessen the quality.

Apparently there have been no problems associated with using recycled wood. In fact, the Cataumet Sawmill is
actively seeking reclaimed wood. According to Cataumet Sawmill’s website, “Much of this wood was originally cut in
the 19th century from trees hundreds of years old. The beauty, strength, straightness and stability of this wood is
unmatched–you can’t go down to the local lumber yard and get anything like it.” Even Abrams asked where they can
get more. The only way to receive this wood is through reclamation. Please contact Cataumet Sawmill or South
Mountain Company
with any leads on reclaimed wood.

Today, most all beer vats are made from steel. Since the old Cranston brewery closed, it’s great to see a local
company re-using some of the materials. Since Cataumet is on Cape Cod and South Mountain is on the Vineyard, the
wood is being for used for New England buildings and staying within our community.

Photo by Wayne Smith of the Jahries greenhouse from the MVM Home & Garden article

Photo of the Jahries greenhouse from the MVM Home & Garden article