Beer lovers of Rhode Island have reason to rejoice this holiday season, as they will be able to taste and take home a selection of fine, carefully-crafted brews from a rising Rhode Island company in a huge new tasting room and brewery right in the center of Warwick.
The official grand opening weekend of Proclamation Ale Company’s new headquarters kicks off at 3 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1, with subsequent hours of 12-8 p.m. on Saturday and 12-5 p.m. on Sunday. Five beers – two IPAs, a pale ale, a Belgian pale ale and an oatmeal milk stout – will be available for pour tasting and packaged purchase.
The brewery is located on the grounds of the Dean Warehouse, at 298 Kilvert Street. Although there is a guard booth along the path to the front door of the tasting room, patrons can rest assured they don’t need a special clearance – outside of a driver’s license proving they’re older than 21 – to get their hands on some local craft beer.
A ribbon cutting was held on Wednesday with local and state officials – some of whom were instrumental in helping pass a bill that eased restrictions on the amount of beer a brewery was allowed to serve and sell on its premises.
Under the old law, breweries could only serve small samples of beer and sell 76 ounces – the equivalent to a six-pack of 12 ounce cans. New legislation signed by Governor Gina Raimondo in July of 2016 made it so brewery owners could acquire an alcoholic beverage manufacturers license and can now directly serve 76 ounces to customers and sell up to 288 ounces total – the equivalent of a 24-pack of 12 ounce cans.
“We’re very thankful, especially to all the elected officials that came out,” said Josh Karten, co-owner and business manager of Proclamation Ale Company, who said the facility will become the hub for their product sales. “The bill is really what got us to this point, so taking us to this next level, I appreciate it.”
Proclamation was started in the West Kingston village of South Kingstown in February of 2013 in the home of Dave Witham, who previously taught music lessons for private schools and individuals. He hooked up with Karten a couple years ago, who had more of an entrepreneurial eye for the business side of things. In fact, Karten didn’t even know how to brew beer when he started.
Now the business has grown exponentially and expects to produce about 6,000 barrels of beer annually out of the new spacious facility. They could probably churn out much more product if they dedicated themselves to just a handful of styles, but Karten and Witham both agree that trying new things and staying true to their roots as beer lover before beer businessmen is more important.
Proclamation boasts a wide range of traditional style beers, but the new facility also has a huge space just for aging sour beers – special brews that encompass a totally different brewing process and can be aged, in some cases, for up to three years before being canned or bottled. They said they are always on the lookout for new trends in the beer world.
The move to Warwick was a perfect combination of available space that fit a growing business, changing legislation making it a profitable venture and the eager willingness of the city to welcome such a booming industry into the heart of its City Centre Warwick development with open arms.
“We are thrilled to have Proclamation here,” said Mayor Scott Avedisian on Wednesday. “When Dean Warehousing came to Warwick, we knew it was going to be a great partnership but I didn’t know how good of a partnership it was really going to be. It’s so important having businesses supporting other businesses and working with the city to really renovate and revitalize everything that is going on here.”