Thirsty in Cumberland? Nevermore

Thirsty in Cumberland? Nevermore

Ravenous Brewing owner Dorian Rave shows a few of the current can selections in the brewery’s taproom. All of the can label art is done by New England graphic designer and illustrator Emilie Jolivet. (Breeze photos by Laura Colantonio)
Ravenous Brewing’s new ‘Merch Perch’ and expanded patio offer more options for craft beer

CUMBERLAND – Ravenous Brewing Company had only been in its new location at 10 Industrial Road for two full months when COVID-19 restrictions shut businesses down in March of 2020.

That short amount of time proved to be enough to be welcomed into the community “with open arms,” said Dorian Rave, owner and brewer at Ravenous.

Rave, along with business partner Patrick Reilly, originally began Ravenous in Woonsocket in 2012 as a small nanobrewery, moving the business to Cumberland in mid-December of 2019. And things have expanded quite a bit since those early days.

“I think we’re beyond the nano spot now,” said Rave, laughing. He describes the current status of Ravenous as a small craft brewery.

Ravenous (note that the last name Rave cleverly fits within the brewery’s name) sports a logo of a watchful raven and fully embraces the raven theme with a tagline of “Thirsty Nevermore,” playing off Edgar Allan Poe’s famous poem.

Since moving to Cumberland, the brewery has been hard at work delivering on its promise that customers will never go thirsty. The business has been adapting and coming up with new ways to serve its patrons through the ever-changing times of the past year.

“Luckily we had the ability to can our own beers,” said Rave. The brewery moved to curbside pickup during the COVID-19 stay-at-home order last spring, solely brewing for can sales.

Rave said, “People were amazing, coming in droves to show support.”

Ravenous also added an extensive outdoor patio last year, just in time for the arrival of visitors eager to embrace the state’s new outdoor establishment rules at the time, said Rave. He said by the time indoor seating was allowed, they were lucky enough to have plenty of space to safely seat people inside with enough distancing.

The outdoor area is a spacious fenced-in patio with barrels and large, cable spool-style tables that feature umbrellas for a little shade. Rotating food trucks visit the brewery Thursdays through Sundays, and Rave said plans are in the works to add more live entertainment to the brewery schedule in the coming months.

New to the brewery this year is the “Merch Perch.” The retail space, located at the front of the property, opened about a month ago and offers the opportunity to purchase Ravenous swag such as hats and shirts, as well as four-packs of cans, with hours that extend outside the regular taproom hours. (Be sure to take a close look at the unique can label art – all done by New England graphic designer and illustrator Emilie Jolivet.)

“People really appreciate it,” said Rave of the retail hours, noting that with being located close to an industrial park, they often see people stopping into the Merch Perch for purchases on the way home from work.

With Rhode Island’s craft beer industry always growing, Rave points out that there is room for everyone. “I feel like everybody has their own unique vibe,” he said.

Rave said the variety of breweries just highlights the diversity of craft beer drinkers in Rhode Island. Currently at Ravenous, the favorites are a couple of New England IPAs, Rhode Haze and You are Such an Ass, as well as their Saison Des Fraise, a strawberry saison. The Coffee Milk Stout is a well-known Ravenous staple and the first beer the brewery released back in 2012. A few of the selections also incorporate local community names such as the Blackstone Pale Ale and the Diamond Hill Pale Ale.

Looking to the future, Rave said the brewery is involved with exploring “green” brewing practices. He said the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management is exploring ways breweries function and trying to come up with ideas to help the process become more environmentally friendly. Rave said Ravenous is part of the DEM conversations exploring these avenues.

Right now, he said, they are happy to be getting back into the swing of things this summer, looking ahead to events like beer festivals returning to the craft brewing scene.

Ravenous Brewing opened its Merch Perch about a month ago. The retail space offers Ravenous apparel and gifts, as well as four-packs of cans, with hours that extend outside of regular taproom hours.