Nov 2011

In The News: EastBay RI Reports On The Brewery Update

The old Warren Manufacturing plant would make a great brewery, local advocates believe. Photo by Ted Hayes.

Wondering what’s going on with building a new Narragansett brewery? Mark recently spoke with EastBay newspapers in RI about our progress. Writer, Ted Hayes, wrote great piece. Check it out below and keep drinking your part.

Hi Neighbor! Tourister still on the table for Brewery

By Ted Hayes

WARREN — At its heart, Mark Hellendrung sees the decision as a clear choice: Build close to a population center, or find a place with charm and soul.

Warren hopes he chooses the latter.

Mr. Hellendrung, the president of the Narragansett Brewery, said this week that Warren’s sprawling American Tourister plant is still in the running as the possible new home of the iconic brewery. ‘Gansett, as ‘Rhode Island’ as Salty Brine, Del’s Lemonade and the Big Blue Bug, flourished for years, shut its doors, became a legend and finally re-opened under his direction in 2004. Though some of the brewery’s products are now made in the Ocean State, much of the beer it now produces is made in upstate New York.

Mr. Hellendrung, an East Providence native, wants to bring the entire operation home, and earlier this year the Tourister factory, as well as another in Providence, were tabbed as two of the most likely candidates for expansion. Though plans to search for a home were put on hold for the busy summer season, Mr. Hellendrung said Narragansett is now actively working on its expansion plans.

“We’re busy behind closed doors spec(ing) equipment and space needs so we can then go public for the site selection process,” he wrote in an e-mail this week to the Times.

“Warren is in the running. One of the big decisions we’ll need to make is something in the heart of the population center (Providence) or something outside the city with likely a lot more charm.”

That’s where Warren comes in. Since Narragansett’s interest in Warren became public five or six months ago, Warren residents have embraced the brewery as a great fit for the enormous factory complex. Local boosters have taken to the streets, started a Narragansett beer Facebook page, and visited watering holes and restaurants around town to ask proprietors to stock Narragansett beer. The excitement was such that Anthony DeSisto, Warren’s solicitor, advised town officials and board members not to actively advocate on the brewery’s behalf; since then, there’s been little talk about the brewery from officials, but plenty from the public at large.