Ever thought of building a house out of recycled wood from the vats at the old Narragansett brewery? Well South Mountain Company on Martha's Vineyard certainly did. While reading the article, "For The Love Of Plants," in Martha's Vineyard Magazine's Home & Garden, we noticed that South Mountain Company constructed a greenhouse for the Jahries residence in West Tisbury out of redwood from the old beer vats at the Cranston brewery.
South Mountain is an employee owned, integrated architecture, building, and renewable energy company for 35 years. When reaching out to John Abrams, CEO and Owner of South Mountain, we learned that they have a whole inventory of this wood stock piled. According to Abrams, South Mountain received this wood from the Cataumet Sawmill in Hatchville, MA. Not only was this used for the Jahries greenhouse, but Abrams mentioned they have used it on numerous projects including cabinetry and other housing on the island.
Abrams said that old tanks are super-high quality wood and the ones used for making beer are best of all. "We have wood that was used in vats for making pickles and wine, but beer tanks...those are just perfect," said Abrams. The wood from pickle and wine tanks still contain salt and sugar which can lessen the quality.
Apparently there have been no problems associated with using recycled wood. In fact, the Cataumet Sawmill is actively seeking reclaimed wood. According to Cataumet Sawmill's website, "Much of this wood was originally cut in the 19th century from trees hundreds of years old. The beauty, strength, straightness and stability of this wood is unmatched--you can't go down to the local lumber yard and get anything like it." Even Abrams asked where they can get more. The only way to receive this wood is through reclamation. Please contact Cataumet Sawmill or South Mountain Company with any leads on reclaimed wood.
Today, most all beer vats are made from steel. Since the old Cranston brewery closed, it's great to see a local company re-using some of the materials. Since Cataumet is on Cape Cod and South Mountain is on the Vineyard, the wood is being for used for New England buildings and staying within our community.