Isle Brewers Guild Officially Launches Brewing Operations Friday

Two more brewing partners, Farmer Willie's craft ginger beer and Devil's Purse Brewing Company, have joined the new craft cooperative brewing facility in Pawtucket.

Over the last few days, Isle Brewers Guild announced two more partners that will join Narragansett Beer and Newburyport Brewing Company in production at the new craft cooperative brewing facility in Pawtucket. Farmer Willie’s craft ginger beer and Devil’s Purse Brewing Company are the latest to create brews at the site.

The Isle Brewers Guild 100-barrel brewhouse will be the largest American-made craft brewhouse in the United States, and it officially launches brewing operations on Friday with a private event, including industry leaders and elected officials. The occasion marks Narragansett Beer’s return home to produce its first locally manufactured beer since 1983. IBG plans to open its tasting room to the public at the end of March. Read Rhode Island Monthly’s extensive story on the IBG launch and Narragansett Beer's return, written by Lou Papineau.

Farmer Willie’s already has a Rhode Island connection. The business idea for the craft ginger beer was developed in a Brown University dorm room. We first learned of the craft ginger beer when Rhode Island Monthly writer Grace Kelly profiled the partners behind the product. Two Brown University graduates, Nico Enriquez and Max Easton, and a goat farmer from the Cape, Willie Fenichel, helped bring the potent brew to market. Fenichel originally developed the drink while Enriquez and Easton made it a business. The recipe is made with cold-pressed ginger juice, lemon juice, cane sugar, molasses and nutmeg, and it’s fermented with Champagne yeast to make it a 4.5 percent brew.

Nico Enriquez, Willie Fenichel and Max Easton of Farmer Willie's.

“We launched two years ago as undergraduates at Brown University, selling Farmer Willie’s at farmers markets on the Cape,” says Enriquez in a release. “Now with our own space, we have the ability to brew alongside some of New England’s most respected breweries and we’re excited to continue making damn good ginger beer.”

Farmer Willie’s previously brewed at Foolproof Brewing in Pawtucket, but this move to the Guild will allow the team to increase production and yearly capacity from 700 to 3,000 barrels. The Isle Brewers Guild will help the team manage production, canning and logistics, so the the partners can focus more on sales, marketing, developing and launching new products and fulfilling their environmental commitment of planting one tree for every ten cases sold.

Devil’s Purse Brewing Company also has roots on the Cape. Partners and home brewers Matt Belson and Mike Segerson teamed up to create beers using the finest handcrafted ingredients. The friends first brewed together in 2010, and researched what it would take to launch a brewery. They brewed their first test batch of beer for Devil’s Purse in 2015 in Dennis, Massachusetts, and the partnership with the Guild will allow them to increase production without purchasing new equipment. Devil’s Purse’s most popular beers, Handline Kölsch and Surfman’s Check ESB, will be produced at the Guild while the South Dennis location will focus on specialty beers.

IBG is also planning an entire food and beverage campus that will include indoor and outdoor event space, an outdoor beer garden, tasting rooms, restaurants, classroom space and corporate offices. Can you say summer beer festival? We hope so.