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Lord of the Beer: Gansett’s new head brewer breaks barriers

Spring is a time for reinvention, and Narragansett Beer is welcoming change with an all-new brewery near India Point Park in Providence and a new head brewer to go along with it. Head brewer Lee Lord will grace the RI beer giant with her talents, coming off an impressive track record at Smuttynose Brewing Co., Watch City and Cambridge Brewing Co.

Lord is breaking barriers with Narragansett by becoming their first-ever female head brewer. She has more than a decade of experience in the beer industry and she’ll play a critical role in shaping the company’s next chapter.

“I’m beyond thrilled to join Narragansett and help reestablish the brand’s RI brewing tradition here in Providence,” says Lord. “Working closely with Mark [Hellendrung, ’Gansett’s president] and the team has been such a collaborative and rewarding experience. I can’t wait to continue to build upon ‘Gansett’s storied heritage … brew the highest quality beer and create an amazing experience for fans right on the beautiful India Point Park waterfront!” The enthusiasm is reciprocated, Lee!

Lord is an active member of the New England/Boston chapter of the Pink Boots Society, an organization that provides scholarships to women in beer and beverages to further their professional education. Lord credits the organization and the supportive network as a major component in propelling her career forward. She was also recently awarded the UC Davis, Intensive Brewing Science for Practical Brewing scholarship for her enduring commitment to her work and influence on other women brewers.

“We could not be more excited to welcome Lee to the Narragansett team!” said Hellendrung. “Lee … is a true force to be reckoned with. I can’t wait to drink the wide range of styles to be brewed, from the innovative to the traditional classics.”

Narragansett Lager, Narragansett Light, Del’s Shandy, and Fresh Catch are some of the company’s renowned classics, and Lord plans on brewing some unique flavors that fans have yet to experience. A special Pink Boots collaboration will be part of the kick-off to the organization’s 2021 Collaboration Brew Day. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Pink Boots Society to support their scholarship funding efforts. The brewery expects to be diving deeper into IPAs (see photo above) and will have rotating limited releases, some of which may only be available at the new brewery itself. They’re also excited to revisit historical styles like cream ale, which haven’t been around in a while. Lord is also known to have a flair for kettle sours – although ’Gansett isn’t making any firm committments just yet.

The launch of the waterfront brewery, where you can find Lee and the Narragansett team slinging some of the best beer this small state has to offer, is set for this spring. The brewing equipment is already in, and those first batches of beer have begun their journey toward taps everywhere. The building’s surrounding patio has been poured, and the bar is almost done. “We’re expecting doors any day now,” says VP of Sales and Marketing Jim Crooks, of the progress. Look for announcements soon, and join the reinvention!

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