Bucket Brewery finds room to grow on Pawtucket Avenue

Bucket Brewery finds room to grow on Pawtucket Avenue

City 'is a core part of our identity'

PAWTUCKET - The local craft brewery with the all-Pawtucket name is expanding to a spacious new headquarters in the mills at 545 Pawtucket Ave.

The new 3,700-square-foot facility, which is about 10 times the size of the brewery's old space at the Lorraine Mills on Mineral Spring Avenue, will allow the owners of the Bucket Brewery to meet the growing demand for their beers. They'll hold a grand opening in the space, with opening tours, on Nov. 9.

Nate Broomfield said that he and co-owners hope to have their first brew day sometime in the next few days. Once it's up and running for real, the Bucket Brewery will have tours, tastings, and retail sale space. With a new law allowing limited sale of "growlers" at the brewery, craft beer lovers will also get to go home with some Bucket brew after their tour.

The Breeze talked to Broomfield about the company's first few months of business since it opened last fall. The following is our email interview:

• How successful has the Bucket Brewery been? Are you guys making good money?

Broomfield: We were sold out and back ordered almost immediately after we started selling beer. The old brewery, since it was built from scratch, needed a ton of upkeep and modification on a weekly basis. Because of this we never quite got profitable. We were pretty close to breaking even.

* Is your beer gaining wide acclaim, or is it mainly popular locally?

Broomfield: The beer is just sold locally, so it doesn't have a far-reaching reputation. Even in the new incarnation we will still be just in Rhode Island for the immediate future. My goal, and the goal of many if not all of my co-owners, is just to become a popular regional brand. If you look at pre-prohibition America, we had regional breweries everywhere. Rhode Island had Narragansett. Other examples would be Ranier, Olympia and others. Post-prohibition, a few breweries brought beer to the whole country. As craft beer took off, brands like Sam Adams were able to become national. Now there are well over 2,000 breweries in the United States. You can't have 2,000-plus national brands. In my opinion, local pride in the local breweries will be what drives success. We have positioned ourselves to have that local identity. Combined with some great beer, I think that identity makes us be the beer you think of when you want a Rhode Island beer.

• Why do you think beer lovers are embracing Bucket brews?

Broomfield: We put out interesting and high quality beer. A lot of other breweries do as well, so combining it with local branding helps set us apart.

• What does this new space mean for your company? How "big" could you be within the space?

Broomfield: The new space is a huge change for us. We can brew 10 times more beer in a day than we could previously. We can also afford to brew more often, increasing our output further still. The new space is also set up for expansion, allowing the addition of more fermentation capacity as we can afford to add it. This is something we plan to do in under a year. In addition to a greatly increased capacity, we can ensure a better, more consistent product. The new equipment is much better than what we used before. All of the old equipment was re-tasked and not designed for brewing, or in some cases not for commercial scale brewing.

• Do you have big plans for new brews in the next few months?

Broomfield: New brews have always been something we want to do. Erik (co-owner Erik Aslaksen) and I are always working on new recipes, but in the old space we were always playing catch-up and couldn't put them into the rotation. The new space will allow us to start introducing beers that may be one-offs or seasonal. A smaller fermenter is part of the initial setup for this purpose. There may be a Christmas season beer if we feel comfortable with the new equipment soon enough. If not, expect something for St. Patty's Day.

• Will you always be located in Pawtucket?

Broomfield: We like Pawtucket so much we named the company after it! Yes, Bucket will always be in Pawtucket. It is a core part of our identity and something we have gone all in on.

For more on the Bucket Brewery, visit www.bucketbrewery.com .