As of January 1, 2013, Craft Beer Cellar, an independently-owned beer store in Belmont, decided to stop carrying brews from Magic Hat, Narragansett, MacTarnahan’s, Butte Creek, Pyramid, and Mendocino. Based on the definition of a craft brewer by the Brewers Association (Boulder, CO), which the company adopted as part of its business model, these brands were no longer considered “craft.” After much debate and discussion, owners Kate Baker and Suzanne Schalow have decided to put Narragansett back on the shelves.
Narragansett’s flagship lager is what puts them outside the definition, which states that a traditional craft brewer is one “who has either an all malt flagship (the beer which represents the greatest volume among that brewers brands) or has at least 50% of its volume in either all malt beers or in beers which use adjuncts to enhance rather than lighten flavor.”
“Something about the decision to remove Narragansett just didn’t seem right,” says Baker. “Suzanne and I kept going over the BA’s definition of traditional—we just couldn’t fully accept why they wanted to exclude brewers like Yuengling and Narragansett. After Suzanne spoke with Mark [Hellendrung, president of Narragansett], and better understood his intentions, we just knew we had to bring them back.”
As a result, Craft Beer Cellar will write an open letter to the Brewer’s Association requesting a more modern and inclusive revision to the current definition of a craft brewer—one that doesn’t omit age-old breweries like Narragansett and Yuengling, who have used the same or similar recipes since the late 1800s. “Ultimately, we love and support small, independent brewers who are focused on making good beer and not cheating their customers,” says Schalow.
Craft Beer Cellar opened in November 2010 by ex-restaurateurs Kate Baker and Suzanne Schalow and offers more than 800 craft, micro, and artisanal beers from the United States and beyond. With a mission to change the world, one craft beer at a time, you can most always find them in Belmont, unpacking boxes and researching the latest and greatest craft brews.