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Rhode Island


Small State - Big in the hobby for Collectable Cans, all from Cranston.


"Hi Neighbor - Have a Gansett"


What a warm and wonderful New England greeting from a not so long ago, slower, friendlier time. If you worked at Narragansett, you were part of the family. Drinking at work was encouraged, the fountains in the plant spewed Narragansett.

Top Row: In 1965 Falstaff Brewing Company (St. Louis) agreed to purchase the Narragansett Brewing Company but the State of Rhode Island opposed the sale. They battled it out in court until 1974 when Falstaff prevailed. The expense of the litigation coupled with Budweiser's new ultra modern facility in New Hampshire took a heavy tool on Falstaff.  The Falstaff Ale is a rare test can. It has six cities in the mandatory however Cranston, R.I. is the first city listed which means that is where the can was made to be sold. This is the only "Ale" can produced under the "Falstaff" label. In 1964 the Narragansett branch of the Haffenreffer family bought the Haffenreffer labels from the Boston cousins and produced the two red label cans show here. That plain looking can on the left (the USBC 2 can) is a tuff sleeper can. 


There were seven Breweries operating in Rhode Island before Prohibition, only five reopened after it ended.


Consumers/Hollens (Warwick 1933-1938)

Rhode Island (Pawtucket 1933-1938)

Rodger Williams (Providence 1933-1940)

Hanley (Providence 1935-1957) 

Narragansett (Cranston 1933-1975)


  It took two years (1935) for Hanley to get going again while Narragansett was prepared and began brewing in 1933. The two year head start gave them an advantage they never relinquished. People wanted their Beer/Ale and they wanted it now, thus they became loyal customers. The newly reopened pubs and bars had not only Narragansett's products but the Breweriana (ball knobs on their taps, lights, signs all promoted the health benefits, good taste and quality of Narragansett). Hanley's delayed start was costly and although they brewed beer, their speciality was Ale. Over the years lager beer slowly but steadily became the drink customers preferred. Narragansett purchased Hanley in 1957 and their buildings were raized in 1960. The two cans shown were brewed into the early 1970's by Narragansett. 

Second Row:

The Big Fliptop can on the left is one of only three cans known with

the "Sticker". It was the Wally Gilbert / Joe Veselky can. The white

Narragansett Ale is the USBC2 can and since then a six pack was

found. The two yellow Narragansetts, to the best of my knowledge,

there are four of each. The blue can is one of six or seven cans.


The Purple Cow can is not rare, but being so awkward, it is highly desireable and tends to get locked up in collections so they are seldom seen. They were made in 1964 for the 25th reunion of Williams College Class of 1939. The school mascot was a cow and the school colors were purple and gold.


Third Row: The second can from the left has a green and tan border and is known as the "Split Label" Ale can. It's from 1964 and has only appeared in the Beer Can Bible (about six cans known). The other three cans in the set are fairly easy to obtain.


Fourth Row: Falstaff purchased Ballantine Brewing Company (Newark, New Jersey) in 1972. Ballantine was in dire financial straights which helped cause the demise of the Falstaff/Narragansett conglomerate. The Newark facility was closed and the Krueger labels, the Ambassador (top row) and at least two Ballantine labels were produced in Cranston. By 1975 Paul Kamanovitz (General Brewing, San Francisco) obtained majority control of Falstaff. The Narragansett plant in Cranston was closed in 1981. 



The generous nature of the Haffenreffer family should be mentioned.

The family donated in excess of 20 million dollars in the early 1960's

to local colleges and institutions. The Haffenreffers ceded 350 acres

of tree lined ocean front property to Brown University and gave the

family's large and extreme rare American Indian Artifact collection

to Brown University as well. Truly good people!



                                      Narragansett Beer
                                         Made on Honor
                                            Sold on Merit

Rhode Island

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