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Hi-Neighbor! The Story of the Narragansett Brewing Company Premieres in May
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In what Rhode Island PBS is calling a ‘lager than life’ film event, the newest Rhode Island PBS Original to come from the production studios at 50 Park Lane in Providence recounts the history of one of Rhode Island’s most famous icons. Hi-Neighbor! The Story of the Narragansett Brewing Company debuts at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, May 25, 2022, on-air, online, as well as in person at the current site of the brewery at 271 Tockwotton Street in Providence. 

“We are very excited to bring this story to life,” said Rhode Island PBS President David W. Piccerelli.  “This is a story that bridges generations. From people who worked at the original brewery, to the Millennials and Gen Z-ers who only know today’s craft brew, the film promises revelations for everyone.” 

Founded by German immigrants in 1890, the Narragansett Brewing Company grew from a humble craft brewer to New England’s largest and most advanced brewery, commanding 65% of Rhode Island’s market and 25% of the New England market share by 1965. Despite strong sales and legendary marketing, however, it fell victim to modernization and by 1983, closed its doors for good while its product was produced out-of-state. 

By the early 2000s, in an amazing turn of events, the brand was resurrected at the start of the craft beer renaissance and returned home to Rhode Island. 

Hi-Neighbor! is a story of industry, perseverance, failure, and triumph. It is a story of second chances borne of indomitable hope, vision, and entrepreneurial spirit.

John H. Smith, the film’s producer, noted, “The buildings are gone. The landscape has changed. Many Rhode Islanders may not remember where the brewery was originally located, but they know the slogan. Our film fills in the backstory of this iconic Rhode Island brand.” The original brewery complex was located where the Cranston Police headquarters is now situated, on the corner of Cranston and Garfield Streets.

Narragansett Brewing Company President Mark Hellendrung joins Rhode Island PBS President David Piccerelli on May 25 to present the documentary on television starting at 8 p.m. The public is invited to watch the broadcast premiere, stream it online at watch.ripbs.org/livestream, or get together with other beer lovers for an in-person ‘watch party’ at the Narragansett Brewery. Doors open at 7 p.m. for the watch party. 

The documentary will be available to stream on-demand after June 10.

For more information, visit ripbs.org/hineighbor.

WSBE Rhode Island PBS transmits high-definition (HD) programming over the air on digital 36.1; Cox 08 / 1008HD, Verizon FiOS 08 / 508HD, and Full Channel 08; Comcast 819HD and Verizon FiOS 18 / 518HD; DirecTV 36, Dish Network 36. Rhode Island PBS is now available to subscribers of YouTubeTV. The full schedule is available to live stream for free within the broadcast viewing area at watch.ripbs.org/livestream. An expansive catalog of PBS series, documentaries, and specials is available to Rhode Island PBS members through Rhode Island PBS Passport

WSBE Learn transmits over the air on digital 36.2; Cox 808, Verizon FiOS 478, Full Channel 989; Comcast 294 or 312.