Smug Brewing coming to former Bucket space

Smug Brewing coming to former Bucket space

PAWTUCKET – Robert DaRosa, a Rhode Island brewer with lots of experience and a passion for big flavors, has purchased the former Bucket Brewery operation at 545 Pawtucket Ave. and plans to open his Smug Brewing Company there.

DaRosa, 38, of East Providence, told The Breeze he’s excited to start out on his own after working for other breweries for many years.

“Now it’s time to do my own thing,” he said.

Pawtucket, with more than 10 breweries now in operation, “is a good place to be,” he said, and it’s a city that’s very supportive of the brewing community.

“There are a lot of good breweries there,” he said.

The name of the brewery, said DaRosa, was a product of the fact that there are so many breweries out there now that it’s difficult to find a name that won’t lead to someone issuing a cease and desist order against you.

As he and business parter Stephen David were going over the top 30 “power words,” they came across “smug” and liked it. At first they thought it had somewhat of a negative connotation, but as they read through the definition, they came to the word “confidence.”

Smug Brewing will be about having the confidence to drink what you want without being judged, whether it’s a 90-pound woman drinking a big heavy IPA or a 650-pound man drinking a raspberry sour, said DaRosa.

“We’re making it because we want you to drink it,” he said.

DaRosa purchased everything but the Bucket name and its beers from the owners of the former Pawtucket brewery, one of the original two breweries formed in the city in 2011, with Foolproof Brewing Company.

“It’s a totally new, from-scratch brewery, excluding the equipment,” he said.

DaRosa was interested in buying Bucket almost immediately after former owner Nate Broomfield put it up for sale in January, but it wasn’t until a couple of months later, after analyzing the numbers, that he and David decided that they could make a go of it. This wasn’t a “huge deal” in terms of money, he said, but with the brewery “as close to turnkey” as possible, Broomfield is now brewing at Providence Brewing Company in neighboring North Providence.

DaRosa said he has been brewing for about a decade, eight of those years professionally. He worked at Union Station Brewery in Providence for six years before moving on to Ragged Island Brewing in Portsmouth. He’s been the head brewer there for a little more than one year.

Smug Brewing will do both in-house sales and distribution of beers on a small scale to start out. DaRosa will be creating new beers, but in his own known style.

“Every brewer has their own style,” he said, describing his IPAs as “very hop-forward, with floral and citrusy notes, easy to drink with low bitterness.” He said his seasonal beers, such as Oktoberfest, are “extremely traditional” and easy to drink, and his Russian imperial stouts are big and bold.

The owners of Smug Brewing Company say they hope to have it open by early fall, after all state and local permits and approvals are secured.