Former Patriot Troy Brown endorsed Narragansett Beer at 1776
By Sara Bagwell
BRISTOL ’" Former New England Patriots player Troy Brown stopped in Bristol Saturday to promote Rhode Island’s own Narragansett Beer at 1776 Liquors, giving Bristolians a chance to meet a New England sports legend up close.
Mr. Brown became a Narragansett beer investor in March after a newfound love for Narragansett Light. He has made 10 promotional appearances; Saturday was the first time in Rhode Island.
Although bold banners were hung inside and outside of building, many customers came and went like a normal day, oblivious to the crowd of people in the center of the store.
'We had no idea Troy Brown was going to be here,' two men said proudly, showing their autographs to a cashier as they purchased a 30-pack of Bud Light. 'I guess we were just in the right place at the right time.'
Many patrons arrived early, however, remembering the days before Budweiser and Coors dominated the beer industry.
'The taste just was not the same for a while so I had to switch brands' said a white haired man patiently waiting in line. 'But I can see that their doing a lot with it and even came out with a Narragansett Light.'
Not only was the event for nostalgic drinkers, many kids also hurried through the doors in tow of ecstatic fathers eager to meet the former NFL athlete.
'A lot of youngsters showed up, which was nice to see,' said Tom Sousa, general manager of 1776 Liquors. 'At one point we had upwards of 200 people waiting in line just to meet Troy. It definitely made for an exciting day.'
Narragansett Brewery CEO Mark Hellendrung bought the brand in 2005 in hopes of bringing back the old name for Rhode Islanders. The aim of promotions involving Mr. Brown is to get people buying the brand so the company can set up a new brewery in Rhode Island, possibly even Bristol or Warren.
'The thing about Troy is that he is a genuinely nice hardworking guy,' said Mr. Hellendrung. 'You always wonder if celebrities are really like that or if it is a show, but he is really just a regular guy blessed with huge talents.'
Mr. Brown played with the Patriots for 15 seasons and retired in 2008 as the all-time leader for receptions (557) for the team."