By. Jim Crooks
A 90-year old gentleman named Bernie Bell came walking through our door today at Narragansett world headquarters in Providence. He was carrying with a six-pack of old Narragansett drinking glasses, a bronze bottle opener that could probably kill a man it was so heavy, and countless stories from the good old days of Narragansett Beer. Bernie’s father in law was Saul Abrams who brought Narragansett to prominence outside RI after Prohibition in 1933. He got a contract to sell Gansett in Mass, CT, NH, ME, & VT and opened up distribution in all of those states...in essence solidifying Gansett’s place as the top selling beer in New England. Maine was the strongest state with 8 distributors and hundreds of bar and liquor store customers. Because of Narragansett’s relationship with the Red Sox and the dearth of local competition, Gansett quickly became the #1 beer in that state during the 40’s, 50’s, & ’60’s.
Bernie graduated from Brown U in 1942 and joined the Air Force during WWII. Shortly after getting out of the service in 1946 and having his first child, he started up a Narragansett distributorship with a friend in Brockton. That business venture was short-lived, but he went on to enjoy many other life successes. Here’s to Bernie Bell...a good friend and neighbor to Narragansett Beer!