PAWTUCKET – While they’ve been in operation for over a year from their Main Street facility, members of Isle Brewers Guild had yet to show off their products at a festival.
That changed Saturday when they displayed two new products at the 2018 Rhode Island Brew Fest at the Pawtucket Armory.
Isle Brewers Guild co-founder Jeremy Duffy explained that the guild’s appearance at the gathering of craft brewers was to support the local industry, talk up their partner brewers, and pour a pair of “taproom exclusive” beers: the IBG “It’ll Be Good” double IPA and a vanilla porter that was described as “perfect for winter.”
Saturday’s festival, which drew scores of people from around New England to sample their favorite beers or try some new flavors, celebrated the community while allowing customers to interact with the brewers and vice versa, Duffy said.
“We’re excited to be a part of it,” he continued. “It’s the ability to get the community together and talk and celebrate each others success.”
For Duffy, his attendance at the festival drew a variety of benefits for Isle Brewers, namely from market insight and direct consumer feedback.
“We really want to hear what people think about our beers and we’ll get that being here with people that support the industry,” Duffy said.
One of the regional brewers who was excited to be able to pour his stylings was Dorian Rave, the owner of Woonsocket’s Ravenous Brewing Company. In addition to Ravenous’ signature coffee milk stout, they were pouring an IPA that Rave described as “one of the better ones” that came from experimenting and tinkering around at the brewery.
For a brewery tucked away in an industrial park off of Cumberland Hill Road in Woonsocket, Rave knows the benefit to having a table at a festival that draws thousands of thirsty and potential patrons.
“It’s great exposure. As small as the state is, lots come to the event. These events are always good for industry exposure,” Rave said. “Getting to meet brewers and interacting, exchanging ideas, brainstorming, that’s always a positive.”
Rave described Rhode Island’s craft brewing scene as one that’s competitive but also tight-knit.
“As much as we compete for tap or shelf space, it’s an industry where you don’t hesitate to ask for help,” he said.
That was a sentiment that Duffy echoed.
“We’re seeing great growth in the community,” he said, noting that three breweries have opened in the last 60 days and two or three are in the process of opening this year. With that, he said, there isn’t a slowdown in the craft brewing industry, but rather “explosive growth.”
Despite what appears to be a rapid growth in the craft beer scene, it’s not without its casualties. Pawtucket’s Bucket Brewery will pour its final beer this March, as the Carver Street brewery will cease brewing and close its tap room facilities after seven years in business.
Owner Nate Broomfield said that the closure was brought upon by “financial challenges” that the brewery has faced. But while Saturday was his brewery’s final trip to the statewide festival, he was still looking forward to face-to-face interactions and feedback from customers and long-time fans.
“It’s always a blast,” Broomfield said. “All Rhode Island brewers form a good crew.”
Follow Jonathan Bissonnette on Twitter @J_Bissonnette