The Stock House or Aging Cellar and The Canning Shop
By. Guy Lister
Next stop on the Tour after the Racking Room was the "Stock House", also known as "the Aging Cellars." The Stock House was 4 stories high and on each floor were sixteen storage tanks that looked round from the front. Each tank stood 11 and half feet high and were 45 feet from front to back. Each tank held 1,100 barrels of beer or ale.
As we would enter the first floor, John would stop the group and in his big, booming voice, warn everyone to watch their step while in this room. "This place looks like a Chinese Fire Drill!’, he’d boom. Indeed, as we entered what to me always seem like the coldest place in the Brewery, there were fire hoses filled with beer lying all over the floor and Brewery workers performing a variety of different tasks. One might be coupling a hose to a tank which might lead to the Bottling Shop, while another might be hooking a line to the Racking Room or the Canning line. All those hoses led to a place in the Brewery that was putting the product into its package. Other workers might be turning valve wheels to regulate the flow, or scrubbing the floor, while another might be climbing into one of the huge tanks through a small, oval door on the lower front of the tank, to scrub the inside of the massive, glass-lined tank with a broom and a hose to ready it for the next batch. Each tank had a chalkboard plaque hung onto it to identify the product inside and the date that it entered the tank. Freshness was always the key.
We were next headed for the "Canning Shop", which was situated on the ground floor of the Administration Building, underneath the Executive Offices. Before entering the Canning Shop, everyone was issued a pair of plastic safety glasses for eye protection. Then we could go inside.
"The Canning Department" was probably the most modern division of the Brewery. We had a state of the art, high speed canning line and the tour got right up close to it for a great view. The conveyer line that fed the can filler looked like a roller coaster suspended in air. While on the conveyer run, the cans were without lids and were sprayed inside and out for cleanliness and then they would enter the filling machine that moved so fast that the eye literally could not follow. The machine would fill 900 cans a minute! After the cans were filled, they would pass through a series of electric eyes that checked for foreign substances. Then each can would get a quick shot of CO 2, to agitate the beer, causing the head to overflow the can, thereby eliminating any air in the can. It was at that precise moment that the lid would go onto the top on the can, sealing it tight. All these functions happened fasters than the eye could see!
Make sure you check back next week as we continue into Lister’s tour with part two of The Narragansett Brewery Tour.
Guy Lister gave Narragansett Brewing Company full consent to post his story on our website. However, it remains the intellectual property of Guy Lister and may not be printed, reprinted, edited, sold or published, conventionally, electronically, or by other means without the expressed written approval of Guy Lister. Copyright 2001.