The Rhode Island craft beer family is losing a member. On January 24, Nate Broomfield announced that Bucket Brewery will be closing its brewing and taproom facilities. The statement noted that “when Bucket first took shape, the brewing industry in Rhode Island was just beginning a course that has seen a massive expansion to the number of breweries across the state. [Bucket launched in a 375-square-foot space in the Lorraine Mills in Pawtucket in November 2012.] Bucket was founded and expanded with a specific business plan in mind, and we’ve worked to adapt that plan as the state laws, consumers and direction of microbrewery ownership have changed. Within the last few months, we’ve weighed the business on all levels and determined that the current path ultimately is not what we want for Bucket.” Nate says the plan is to stay open until mid-March: “We will remain in operation under normal business hours, and welcome the brewing community to come visit us and help us clear out our stock.”
We asked Nate to elaborate on his decision, and his opinion about the state of the brewery scene in Rhode Island. He told us, “I don’t think we have hit a market saturation. The two pieces of the business are the in-house taproom sales and the wholesale sales to bars, restaurants, stores, etc. The taproom part is still being bolstered by new breweries coming on-line. When you get a good concentration of breweries to visit, you get people making special trips to the area to visit them. Businesses such as the Rhode Island Brew Bus crop up that introduce people to the local beer scene.
“As far as external sales go, my hunch is that there is still room in the market. Most taps still have out-of-state breweries on them. Those are the taps we compete with, not the other locals. A general market saturation may be at play there, but I don’t believe it to be a local saturation. Look at the numbers of breweries in Portland, Maine, or Burlington, Vermont. There are more per capita and per mile than we have here in RI, and they seem to be doing well.
“Anyway, that’s the opinion of someone who didn’t succeed in the market, so take it for what it’s worth!”
We wish Nate the best for his future endeavors.
But like nature, the RI beer scene abhors a vacuum, and Bucket’s seat at the 401 table is being filled by Beer On Earth, which hopes to open at 6670 Post Rd in North Kingstown in the spring. Adam Henderson and Paul DiBiase shared their backstory on the social mediums: “We began our journey with a 30-gallon stockpot we bought at Job Lot, a mesh bag, a bunch of books about beer and an intense desire to make beers that we could be proud of. Focused on brewing styles not typically found in the region, we researched ingredients, refined recipes and applied feedback to brew the best beer possible on our three-gallon system week after week. After taking home gold and bronze medals at the 2017 New England Regional Homebrew Competition in Manchester, New Hampshire, we knew that we were heading in the right direction. With a newfound confidence, we secured a location for our brewery, applied for our licenses and ordered a three-barrel brew system with a handful of fermenters.
“Beer On Earth will be a nanobrewery dedicated to crafting high-quality ales and lagers in low-quantity batches. We will brew a wide variety of worldly inspired beer styles using local ingredients when possible. Our brewery and taproom, which will cohabitate with Great Harvest Bread Co., will feature six to eight beers on tap in a comfortable, laid-back atmosphere.” Follow their progress at beeronearth.com.
LIGHTING ROUND!! We collected a slew of beer intel before the hello-goodbye brewery news emerged, so let’s speed through it:
Foolproof is now distributing in eight states, adding Virginia and New Jersey to their network. And look for the just-released Forecast Chapter 4 Black India Pale Lager with Simcoe and Cascade, and the debut of Ocean State Lager in March …
Revival’s tallboys of Nitro White Electric Coffee Stout have been a big hit, and it’ll be joined by Nitro Irish Stout, which will be available at the brewery only starting on February 17 at 3pm. Need extra incentive? A new batch of Bourbon Barrel Juliett, a formidable Russian imperial stout (9% ABV), will also be unleashed that day! …
Ragged Island has started shipping 16-ounce cans to select retail establishments …
Newport Storm’s seasonal Irish Spring Red Ale, the official beer of the 62nd Annual Newport St. Patrick’s Day Parade, is out now; and the Beer & Cheese Pairings, with fromage from Narragansett Creamery, will take place on Feb 17, 18, 24 and 25 as part of the Newport Winter Festival; go to newportstorm.com for details …
And Craft Burgers and Beer (clever name, eh?) has opened where Doherty’s usedtabe (324 East Ave, Pawtucket).
For more beer news, check Lou’s blog, bottlescansclaphands.wordpress.com, or follow @BottlesCansRI.