By. Christopher B. O'Hara
The Great American Beers: Page 101, Narragansett
By: Narragansett Brewing Company
Where: Cranston, RI
From: 1877- Present
Slogan: "Hi neighbor, have a "Gansett."
Back in the 1950s, when Curt Gowdy was announcing Boston Red Sox games, almost every game was introduced with: "Hiya, neighbor. This is Red Sox baseball brought to you by Narragansett Lager Beer." At that time, Narragansett was New England’s number one beer and outperformed Budweiser and Miller in certain areas of New England. At its height in the mid 1950s, the Narragansett Brewing Company occupied over a hundred acres of Cranston, Rhode Island. Launched in Cranston in 1877 with seed money from top local businessmen, the company brought in a Berlin brewmaster, situated itself near a rail yard, and steadily reinvested its early profits in state-of-the-art bottling and refrigerated shipping systems. After steady growth through the early 1900s, the company managed to survive Prohibition by selling ice and "medicinal" products. In 1931, Narragansett joined forces with famed Boston brewer Rudolf F. Haffenreffer to further modernize the plant. By 1955, Narragansett was New England’s number one beer. In 1965, Falstaff Brewing bought the company, and Narragansett continued to have solid regional beer sales under Falstaff (and later, Pabst Brewing) but nothing like its Red Sox days. In 2003, after years of stagnant sales, the beer was sold to Miller Brewing Company. Today, thanks to local businessman - and current CEO - Mark Hellendrung, the Narragansett Brewing Company is back in local hands.
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