Good Beer Hunting

Newburyport Brewing Invests in "Sister Brewery" in Rhode Island

Newburyport Brewing—a small-but-quickly-growing company on the north shore of Massachusetts—has invested in Isle Brewers Guild, a start-up contract brewing outpost slated to open in Rhode Island later this year. Newburyport is the second company to invest in IBG, following in the footsteps of Narragansett Beer.

This latest move deviates from the more typical action we see all the time, whereby breweries invest in pricy equipment and land on which to build out new brewing facilities. Instead, we have a rapidly growing, young company getting in on the ground floor of a nearby business, which was scheduled to operate with or without help from Newburyport. So this isn’t simply another story about another brewery growing—though it’s that, too! Newburyport’s investment into IBG highlights an alternative route to expansion.
Of course, the investment is still a means of growth for a company too big for its own home. To that end, the $12 million, 130,000 square foot facility in Pawtucket—which is about two hours south of Newburyport—will not only enable the company to alleviate current capacity constraints, but also provide the opportunity to expand its distribution footprint throughout the region. In fact, it’s already inked a deal with a wholesaler for coverage in the state.
“Our IBG partnership is a key solution to our capacity constraints,” said company co-founder Chris Webb in a news release. “This sister brewery will allow us to meet growing local demand and expand our reach of our year-round seasonal offerings in new markets.”
For Narragansett, partnering with IBG was a way for the company to reestablish a foothold in Rhode Island, after the company had contracted production elsewhere for years. And this creates an interesting dynamic. Both companies are buying into the same thing, but each investment represents polar opposite intentions. For Newburyport, it's the opportunity to expand without building a new home. For 'Gansett, it's the opportunity to have a place to call home after contracting for so long.
Newburyport and Narragansett are both minority owners in the IBG venture, which to date has been stalled by unfortunate roadblocks. Namely, a four-alarm fire that reduced the original building it was set to occupy to smoldering rubble.
The IBG space—which plans to collaborate primarily with “established mid to large-size craft breweries” per its website—is expected to launch with initial capacity of 60,000 barrels, with room to grow to 150,000 barrels in the coming years.
—Dave Eisenberg
Newburyport Brewing Announces Rhode Island Sister Brewery and Territory Expansion [Einnews]