Welcome! Meet your tour guide, John English.
By. Guy Lister
Visitors to The Narragansett Brewery, located in Cranston RI since 1890, were treated to one of the most thorough, entertaining, and educational brewery tours anywhere. We, who gave the tours, were told this many times by visitors from coast to coast in the U.S. as well as by international visitors from around the world.
Guests entered the beautiful, tree lined courtyard and were greeted by a large bronze statue of Gambrinus, the "Legendary King of Beer", who raised a large goblet of foaming beer as a salute to our honored guest. The stately old red brick walls of the Brewery buildings served as fitting frame for the Courtyard and helped to corral some of the aromas of cooking barley malt and hops. The fragrance in the air left no doubt as to what was produced on these grounds. Also in the Courtyard, were old but well maintained, horse drawn wagons that used to haul the "hogshead" barrels to taverns and other customers of the Brewery. The Courtyard also was where the famous "Gansett Brewbus" parked when it was not on the New England roads promoting good will for the Brewery. It was a special feeling, entering onto the Brewery grounds. Guests however, had a lot more to look forward to, whether they were aware of it or not. The famous Narragansett Brewery Tour, lead by it’s colorful and always entertaining Tour Director, John English.
Passing the Administrative Office building on the way from the parking lot to "The 1890 Room", the Brewery’s Hospitality Room, visitors would see the stained glass window over the door which read, "Made on Honor, Sold on Merit." This motto was indicative of what our guests would soon learn to be true.
The 1890 Room, named for the year that Narragansett first started brewing, was a comfortable, mahogany paneled hospitality room. It had comfortable chairs and tables, "Brewery Fresh" draft beer, and a souvenir stand where guests could purchase mementos to take home after the tour. Visitors would typically arrive at 1:00PM each weekday when the tours were conducted. Frequently, the room was filled to capacity and standing room only, which would require back to back walking tours but the groups always began and ended the tour in the 1890 Room. No beer was served until after the tour for obvious reasons.
John English, the Brewery’s Tour Director, was a man who deserves some space in this story. He was a veteran of the beer selling wars, who had logged thousands of miles and many years travelling all over New England selling Narragansett which gave him lots of credibility with our guests. He was a tall man with a voice that ranged from deep and booming to a soft whisper and he would use that range throughout the tour. He was of Irish decent and lived in the same house on Atwells Avenue in Providence his whole life.
Make sure you check back next week as we continue into Lister’s part one 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.