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 and online, as well as in person at the current site of the brewery on Tockwotton Road 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.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp. Although not the founder or original owner, Belmore has been with What'sUpNewp since its early beginnings in 2012.

Belmore was born in Providence, Rhode Island; grew up and graduated high school in Coventry, Rhode Island; and lived in Newport, Rhode Island for more than ten years. He currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals.

He and his wife, Jen, as well as their two dogs (Aero and June), recently moved to Alexandria, Virginia. Belmore travels back and forth to Newport every couple of weeks to cover events, work on story ideas, to meet with What'sUpNewp's on-the-ground contributors, to visit friends, and to eat as much seafood as possible.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.