by Dean Nicosia
The Harpoon Brewery in Boston is truly a Boston brewery that is big enough to supply beer to my local Wegman's store in Rochester, NY. I've always supported Sam Adams as the beer of choice for Boston fans. And while you can't go wrong with the Boston based Sam Adams (brewer and Patriot) the actual brewing of the product is done outside of New England. Now, to support my town of Rochester, NY, about 1/3 of the beer is brewed up at the High Falls brewery up here in Rochester. So when I buy Sam Adams, I buy a New England beer while supporting the local workers in my town. That's the best of both worlds. But for a true New England Beer, brewed in Boston and Vermont, your only choice is Harpoon.
While in Boston for the Red Sox/Patriots trip, Tom Pingree and I visited the Harpoon Brewery and took a tour of the plant.
The first thing I must mention here is that there are two Rochester connections in the Harpoon family. Andy Seguin is the marketing guy at Harpoon, and he was our tour guide for the day. Andy went to school here in Rochester at the UofR and is very familiar with Rochester and some of our local brew spots. He has friends here still and we extended the invitation to him to join us at What's on Second anytime he is in town. Andy did a great job of showing us around and explaining the brewing process to us. He also gave us a taste of their most popular brands. If you want to know about brewing beer, take a trip to Harpoon the next time you are in Boston.
Also go sign up for the Friends of Harpoon program, it's free!!
The other Rochester connection at Harpoon is Tom Brayer who is the VP of Sales. Tom is from Rochester, and his Dad is a client of ours at TM Design. He is the one who put me in touch with them and suggested the brewery tour. You have to go to Harpoon, and check out his beer can collection, it's quite impressive. There are cans from all over the country and from years gone by.
When we arrived at Harpoon, the first thing I noticed upon entering the Brewery was the gift shop and tasting area. It was quite a bit nicer than I had imagined. There were windows looking out over the huge tanks, and everything looked pristine.
Harpoon brews what is known as craft brews. They sell to a niche group of "beer fans" like me. People who drink more for the taste than the consumption. So they are targeted to pubs mostly in the New England area. You get that feel when you walk into the gift shop at Harpoon, very much the feel of a New England style pub. This is also aided by the fact that they are right down on the pier, surrounded by mostly the smell of fish.
While touring the brewery you find out right away that Harpoon doesn't try to mass market themselves as the only beer to buy, but they know that their customers being Craft Beer fans, will sample quite a few different beers throughout the year, and Harpoon wishes only to increase their presents in the Craft Beer drinkers world. It's refreshing to go to a place and listen to a Marketing guy talk about his competitors in a nice way, knowing that he must work together with the other Craft beers in the market.
It's a very warm and friendly place where you can learn about the history, brewing and distribution of Beer. I recommend a tour, and after that tour, I have increased Harpoon in my buying habits.
Also as a New England fan club, we will be enjoying Harpoon at our Buffalo Tailgate.
Go Patriots and go Harpoon!!