• - 1890 -

    In 1890, 6 German immigrants came together with $150,000 to construct this building and start Narragansett Beer. Less than a decade later, Narragansett Beer was the largest selling beer in New England.

  • - 1893 -

    “Physicians all over New England who have occasion to prescribe Lager as an invigorator, appreciate the fact that the Lager brewed at Narragansett Brewery of Providence R.I., since its establishment two years ago, has enabled them to obtain a truly pure and decidedly wholesome beer for their patients.” – Advertisement from an 1893 issue of RI Medial Science Monthly.

    Our beer was once prescribed to aid in all sorts of ailments. More on this when we hit Prohibition.

    Photo courtesy of Gregory Theberge.

  • - 1898 -

    Here is a lithography of our brewery grounds from 1898. In less than 8 years, we grew to be New England’s largest brewery. We produced 397 barrels of beer in year one, then jumped to 27,887 in year two.

  • - 1901 -

    In 1901 after 10 full years of production, we turned out 115k barrels of beer – a figure that would nearly triple by prohibition.

  • - 1905 -

    In the early 1900’s, we tapped into the New York/New Haven/Hartford Railroad line that ran right through the brewery. We were able to start building refrigerated railroad cars to help get our beer to many other cities quickly and without it spoiling.

    Photo courtesy of Gregory Theberge.

  • - 1910 -

    Our expansion at the turn of the century was no joke. In the inset in the upper left is the first building at the brewery. Within 25 years, we invested more than $4 Million (roughly $109 Million today). Our brewery grew to cover 42 acres of land and house more than 30 buildings.

    By the end of 1910, we had buld a new bottling plant, boiler and engine rooms, two cold storage basements, stables, blacksmith and cooperage shops, and more.

    Photo courtesy of Gregory Theberge.

  • - 1910 -

    Another big expansion at the turn of the century was the building of new boiler and engine rooms. Check out the team that ran them. Certainly no shortage of glorious lip sweaters back then.

  • - 1911 -

    A barkeeper outside of his shop in the early 1910’s. If those porcelain signs next to him look familiar, it’s because we replicated them for the current can design of ‘Gansett Light.

  • - 1912 -

    Our famous Bock was first produced on February 8th, 1912. We used to throw the Bock Beer Festival  on the brewery grounds every spring until things got WAY out of hand one year in the 1970’s.

    We get a lot of requests to brew this beer again, and we will. Keep your eyes open in Spring 2021 when the new brewery in Providence is open!

  • - 1917 -

    In 1917 we started to promote “tap signs,” which eventually turned into tap handles, the industry standards for bars everywhere. “Better be sure than be sorry – POINT TO THE TAP.”

    Photo courtesy of Gregory Theberge.

  • - 1920 -

    On January 19th, 1919 the United States ratified the 18th Amendment and on January 29th, 1920 all alcoholic beverages were to be destroyed and further production was to cease.

    Photo courtesy of Gregory Theberge.

  • - 1920 to 1933 -

    When you can’t brew beer, you turn to the soft stuff. During Prohibition we released a line of sodas that included Ginger Ale, Cream Soda, Root Beer and Sarsaparilla.

    Photo courtesy of Gregory Theberge.

  • - 1920 to 1933 -

    Our founders selected the site of the original brewery because of the 19 natural springs that were beneath the land. At this time, ice was often harvested from local ponds and lakes, but our founders made the move to start one of New England’s first “Artificial Ice” plants.

    So when we said, “Artificial Ice,” all we meant was that it wasn’t harvested but frozen in-house.

    At the start of the 20th Century, we were producing 25 tons of ice for customers each day. The forethought of our founders really helped save us during prohibition with an additional revenue stream.

    Photo courtesy of Gregory Theberge.

  • - 1920 to 1933 -

    The last major way that we were able to keep our doors open through Prohibition was… by brewing to fill prescriptions. Yeah, it’s true.

    Somehow doctors were convinced that our malt extract could “reinvigorate” a patient and “enrich” their blood.

    To take things a step further, pregnant women could actually get a prescription from their doctor for our “medicinally” brewed Porter, which was thought to be high in iron.

    Photo courtesy of Gregory Theberge.

  • - 1933 -

    By the end of 1933, the country was deep into the Great Depression – a time when everyone could have really used a drink. The calls for the repeal of Prohibition progressively got louder and louder.

  • - 1933 -

    On March 23rd, 1933 President Roosevelt signed an amendment to Prohibition into law that allowed for the production and scale of certain alcohol. It only took us 2 weeks to fire up the kettles and open our doors again. This amendment set-up a full swing repeal of Prohibition on December 5th, 1933. With that, we were back off running.

  • - 1935 -

    On January 24th, 1935 the beer can was invented. We wasted no time in building a canning line for the brewery. By 1936 we were canning all of New England’s favorites.

  • - 1944 -

    “Gansett made history in 1944 when we became the first alcohol company to officially sponsor an American sports team. This started a 32 year partnership with the Boston Red Sox. We even had our own radio network to broadcast the games.

  • - 1951 -

    The 1950’s became a big era of growth for ‘Gansett, and much of it started with legendary sportscaster, Curt Gowdy and his new role as radio voice of Red Sox Baseball in 1951. For 15 years, those who tuned in heard his famous calls of “Hi Neighbor,Have a ‘Gansett!”

  • - 1957 -

    A lot of great games were played beneath this sign in the 50’s. In 1957, the Boston Celtics won their first national championship and went on to win 11 of the next 13. ‘Gansett was there for all for all of them.

  • - 1959 -

    We finished out the 1950’s like most New Englander’s – soaking up the last playing years of baseball’s greatest hitter, Ted Williams. You can find him in the top row, second from the right.

  • - 1959 -

    In 1959, for the first time in our history, we brewed 1 million barrels of beer in a year. To celebrate, we gifted all brewery workers with gold-plated bottles.

  • - 1965-

    We reached our peak sales in 1965 when we produced nearly 2 million barrels of beer. That’s almost half a billion beers in a year!

  • - 1967 -

    The great Carl “Yaz” Yastrzemski celebrating with a ‘Gansett after winning the pennant with the Red Sox in 1967. While the Sox lost in the World Series and wouldn’t break the curse until 2004, the 1967 impossible Dream was a season for the ages.

  • - 1975 -

    Narragansett Lager Beer becomes a movie star in JAWS, with Captain Quint crushing a can of ‘Gansett, hence #CrushItLikeQuint.

  • - 1975 -

    On July 15th, 1965 ‘Gansett was purchased by Falstaff Brewing Corporation for $17 million. The plan was for the brewery to continue operating and for the Narragansett name to continue to grow. The transaction wasn’t without its problems. Two days before the sale, the US Government began an anti-trust action against Falstaff- a suit that lasted until October 1974. The deal pended for 10 full years before Falstaff finally took over operations in 1975.

    With the sale came many changes, and few of them positive for ‘Gansett.

  • - 1975 -

    With the sale to Falstaff came many changes, and few of them positive for ‘Gansett. One such change was that Falstaff cancelled our sponsorship of the Red Sox after the 1975 season. Here is one of the very last programs with the ‘Gansett name on it.

  • - 1981 -

    July 31st, 1981 proved to be the darkest day in ‘Gansett history. The brewery fell into both physical and economical disrepair and Falstaff moved to lay off over 350 Rhode Islanders.

    By February of 1982 the brewery was shut down entirely and production of Narragansett was moved to Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Falstaff attempted to reopen the brewery in 1983 to produce kegged beer, but those beers never reached market and the brewery was officially closed for good. From that moment forward, the brewery quickly fell out of favor with our once loyal fanbase.

  • - 2005 -

    While the 80’s and 90’s were a dark time for ‘Gansett, everything started to change in 2005 when our now president and lifelong Rhode Islander, Mark Hellendrung rallied a group of investors to purchase the brand and make it independently owned and operated again.

  • - 2015 -

    In 2015, we celebrated both 10 years of declaring our independence and 125 years of brewing history with an Anniversary Party at the iconic Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel in Providence, RI with famed Providence based band, Deer Tick.

  • - 2019 -

    In 2019 we announced plans to start construction on a new brewery on the Providence waterfront in Rhode Island. We hope to open our doors in the spring of 2021. We couldn’t be more excited to fulfill a longtime dream of reopening our own doors in the state where it all began.

  • - 2020 -

    On December 29th, 2020 we celebrated our 130th anniversary. Not only does 2020 mark 130 years of ‘Gansett history, but it also marked 15 years since our rebirth in 2005. In only 15 years we have grown to be a top 30 craft beer brewery in the US and a top 5 brewery here in New England. We can’t wait to see where the next 130 takes us!

  • - 2021 -

    In late May 2021, we officially opened the doors to our long-awaited Providence, RI brewery, fulfilling our promise of bringing Narragansett Beer back to Rhode Island. We celebrated the first weekend of August with a three day long grand opening celebration. In our first year open, we had a ‘Gansett with over 150,000 people!

In 1890, six German immigrants joined together with $150,000 to found and build Narragansett Beer. Less than one decade later.

‘Gansett Gear in the Wild

Have a ‘Gansett and buy some merchandise for you and your favorite neighbors.