Narragansett Beer: A Rhode Island Tradition

Narragansett is the “Rhode Island Tradition.” The first ‘Gansett debuted in 1890. The Rhode Island-born brewery survived Prohibition, bcame the biggest lager maker in New England, and then, following complications from a 1965 sale to Falstaff Corporation, shut down in the 1980s. Resurrected as a brand in 2005 and then as a Rhode Island brewery in 2017, Narragansett is now one of the top 50 breweries in the U.S. It ranks at No. 44 of more than 6,000 breweries.

The History of Narragansett Beer

What makes Narragansett so special is the rich history that connects it to Rhode Island. In 1890, the first batch of Narragansett Lager was brewed at the American Brewing Company, which had set up shop in Cranston, Rhode Island. After Prohibition ended in 1933, Narragansett resumed brewing operations and hired Providence-based Stone & Webster Engineering to design a new brewery on the property along Route 95 in Cranston. The brewery opened its doors in 1934.

Narragansett became one of the top breweries in New England. At its height of popularity, Narragansett beer was one of four beers that every non-drinker would be offered when out with friends who were drinking.

Narragansett became an official sponsor of the Boston Red Sox, which wold become a prominent relationship for decades to come. The brand's “Hi, Neighbor! Have a ‘Gansett” slogan resonated with New Englanders and captured the spirit of community.

Narragansett Beer

The brewery was resurrected in 2005 as a brand, and then in 2017, it became a Rhode Island brewery again. In 2005, the Narragansett Brewing Company was bought by Mark Hellendrung. At the time of the purchase, the Narragansett brand was owned by Falstaff Brewing Corporation, which had ceased production of the beer two years earlier.

Hellendrung began to produce the beer at a small brewery. In 2013, he moved production to a larger facility. In 2017, after completing an $8 million expansion project, Narragansett opened a new brewery nearly five times larger than their previous facility. The new brewery marks the return of Narragansett to its home state.

What Makes Narragansett Beer Unique?

Narragansett is a local beer, which means that the brand is connected to its home state of Rhode Island. Narragansett has become known for being New England's “local” beer. When people think of “Rhode Island,” they immediately think about Narragansett Beer. As one Yelp reviewer put it, “the local vibe in this place was amazing…I could see myself getting lost here for hours.”

Narragansett is also well-known for its affiliation with the Boston Red Sox. The brand became an official sponsor and supplier of beer to the team. There are even items available on the brewery's online store, such as T-shirts, hats, and coasters, that feature the iconic red “N” on a green background.

Narragansett Beer

Facts about Narragansett

  • Narragansett has a very active social media presence. They frequently post pictures on Instagram of their classic beers sitting atop local Rhode Island menus. Their posts receive hundreds of likes each. In fact, within Rhode Island, several restaurants feature Narragansett beer taps.
  • Narragansett loves to brag about its affiliation with the Boston Red Sox on social media. Most posts they make on Instagram receive more likes from their followers when they include something related to the Red Sox than any other post.
  • There are many claims on the internet that Narragansett is “America's Oldest Lager.” However, this statement has been proven false based on the criteria of being “still being made” or being produced continuously on its original site. Because Falstaff discontinued it in 1983 and was revived in 2005 by Mark Helledrung, the company was forced to restart its brewing process. This disqualifies them from being considered America's oldest beer brand.
  • Narragansett had a long history of hosting contests, sweepstakes, and raffles. There were once rumors that if you had seen a man with green overalls wearing one suspender holding a beer wearing a red and black checkered shirt walking around your local store or restaurant, you would have a chance to win prizes by mailing the company.
  • Narragansett Beer was first introduced as a draught beer in 1890 and soon became popular among those living along the East Coast. Due to its popularity, it was brewed as far north as Maine and as far south as Florida. Therefore, Narragansett is truly a regional beer that has been enjoyed for over 100 years across much of New England.
  • Narragansett's logo has not changed much over the years. The “Gansett” writing at the top of their can is red text on an amber background. With minor changes, this has remained unchanged for decades.

Why Should You Try Narragansett Beer?

You should give it a try because it tastes great! You might be surprised to learn that with only one or two exceptions, all of the current Narragansett beers taste extremely similar to those from 30-40 years ago.

Narragansett has had many years of experience in brewing and distributing beer and continues to stay true to the same formula as they have for decades. This includes usig freshly malted barley from Maine and New York, whole leaf from New York, and Narragansett's proprietary lager strain.

Narragansett Beer

Is Narragansett a good beer?

Yes, it is.

Will Narragansett taste the same as it did 30-40 years ago?

Probably not. However, there isn't much difference between the beers that are currently being sold and those brewed beore 1983 or 2005. There may be slight variations in the fermentation process over time (i.e., temperature), but for the most part, all Narragansett Lager tastes very similar to previous batches.

What is Narragansett beer comparable to?

Narragansett beer is similar to any American-style lager such as Budweiser, Corona, Bud Light, or Miller Lite.

What does Narragansett taste like?

The flavor of Narragansett beer is light and crisp with a slightly sweet aftertaste. It has a golden color and is made using caramel malts and whole leaf hops, which give it its distinctive flavor and aroma. However, the profile changes slightly based on the region since Narragansett uses locally sourced ingredients.

Is Narragansett beer still available?

Yes, although the production is limited. It is only available in Rhode Island and eastern Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Maine. Narragansett is most often found on draught but is also available in cans.

What kind of beer is Narragansett?

Narragansett offers a variety of beers. Lagers, IPAs, and othr types of beers are brewed there.

Is Narragansett Beer still being made?

Yes, it is, although production has slowed down. In April 2006, ater a 30-year hiatus, a new Narragansett Brewery opened in Providence and began producing beer again.

When was Narragansett Brewing Company founded?

The Narragansett Brewing Company was founded in 1890.

What year did the brewery close down?

Narragansett Brewing company closed down in 1983.

Why has it been re-opened?

It was re-opened because people wanted to bring back the beer that had been around for over 100 years.

What states sell Narragansett Beer?

The states most likly to sell Narragansett are Rhode Island, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and parts of New Jersey.

Does Narragansett Beer have any special qualities?

Yes! It is made using locally grown ingredients which give it its distinctive flavor and aroma. However, the malt profile changes slightly based on the region since Narragansett uses locally sourced ingredients.

What does Hi Neighbor mean?

Hi, Neighbor is a slogan that represents Narragansett beer.

What is Narragansett known for?

Narragansett is known for being one of the oldest breweries in America.

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Thomas Ashford

Thomas Ashford is a highly educated brewer with years of experience in the industry. He has a Bachelor Degree in Chemistry and a Master Degree in Brewing Science. He is also BJCP Certified Beer Judge. Tom has worked hard to become one of the most experienced brewers in the industry. He has experience monitoring brewhouse and cellaring operations, coordinating brewhouse projects, and optimizing brewery operations for maximum efficiency. He is also familiar mixology and an experienced sommelier. Tom is an expert organizer of beer festivals, wine tastings, and brewery tours.