By Richard Slate
One of the greatest players in New England Patriots history will be appearing in Gloucester this Sunday afternoon.
Troy Brown, the Patriots all-time leading receiver with 557 career receptions, will be at the Liquor Locker (287 Main Street) from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. The recently-retired Brown is a part-owner of Narragansett Beer, which is based out of Rhode Island.
"He bought a stake in Narragansett Beer," said Wayne Campbell Jr., who works at the Liquor Locker, which his dad owns. "He's going around to big liquor stores in different areas (Mass., R.I.) to get the name back out there."
The Narragansett Brewing Company was founded in Cranston, R.I. in 1890 and closed in 1981. It was re-established in 2005 by a team of local investors led by Mark Hellendrung. Formerly the No. 1 selling beer in New England, Narragansett is slowly regaining its popularity across New England and the United States as a whole.
Campbell Jr. has seen first-hand how much the brand has taken off in the past few years at the Liquor Locker.
"Every time someone from my dad's generation came in and saw it, they'd start laughing," remembers Campbell. "They'd say 'that's a name from the past.' They're trying to reestablish its image and get sales cranking again, using this as a promotion."
People of all ages, including children, are welcome to stop by on Sunday to see the three-time Super Bowl champion Troy Brown.
Outlining the Liquor Locker's plan for Sunday, Campbell Jr. noted, "we're going to have a big display of Narragansett Beer. There will be tables where Troy can meet and greet the fans. Bring pictures to autograph, he'll be signing things and talking to people."
It's not hard to project that this event will create great publicity for Narragansett Beer across Cape Ann in the coming weeks and months.
The ironic thing for the Liquor Locker is that only a few years ago, Narragansett could barely be called a niche beer in its store.
"We've carried it since one of our customers, a young guy under 30, asked for it," Wayne Jr. recalled. "He'd drink a case or so a week and slowly its been evolving. Right now we sell about 15 cases a week and we expect that to have a big jump after Sunday."
Brown won't be the first former professional athlete to make an appearance at the Liquor Locker. Former NFL star and current Fox commentator Tony Siragusa appeared a few years back for Twisted Teas since the store was the highest-volume seller of the beverage in Massachusetts.
Celtics legend and broadcaster Tommy Heinsohn also made an appearance for Miller Lite when the Boston Celtics became affiliated with the beer.
All in all, Campbell Jr. expects it to be a memorable day for the store and the town.
"Stuff like this only happens once in a while. We're a seacoast town and they approached us about this event," he said. "We didn't know how legitimate it was but they followed through and here we are."
By Richard Slate