Raimondo creates Narragansett Brewing jobs in New York, Massachusetts not R.I.

Aug 21, 2014

Rhode Islanders of a certain age well remember the `Hi Neighbor, Have a `Gansett’ television advertising campaign  that pushed Narragansett Beer, which in days of yore was brewed in Cranston. Now Gina Raimondo is using an old timey Narragansett commercial to tout her campaign for governor.

The ad states that as a private sector venture capitalist, Raimondo helped bring back the iconic Narragansett Beer brand. The spot uses the warm bath of New England nostalgia to advocate for Rhode Island and links to her campaign pledge to bring manufacturing jobs back to the Ocean State.

The spot harkens to a time when Narragansett was a top television advertiser on Boston Red Sox games. (Announcer Curt Gowdy used to famously pour a Gansett into a mug on air during the seventh inning stretch; as a young lad that was my signal to head to the refrigerator to fetch two bottles of Gansett, one for my grandfather, the other for my dad).

Raimondo’s ad even flashes old photos of those old Red Sox teams from the era when virtually all the players were white  (the BoSox were the last major league team to integrate when utility infielder Pumpsie Green joined the team in 1959 ) and the team was, well, pretty awful. It will remind some Democrats of the late J. Joseph Garrahy, who was a Narragansett Beer salesman and later became governor.

Narragansett closed the Cranston brewery many years ago. The brand was revived in 2005 and the company’s headquarters are in Providence. But no significant manufacturing of Narragansett is done in Rhode Island.

As was first reported on the Politico web site, Raimondo’s ad is a bit disingenuous -- ``I’ve helped create over a thousand jobs – from high tech to making beer,’’ Raimondo says in the ad. But Narragansett Beer isn’t actually brewed in Rhode Island; brewing takes place at the Genesee Brewing Company in Rochester, N.Y. and at Buzzards Bay Brewing in Westport, Mass.,’’ reported Politico.

Nicole Kayner, a Raimondo campaign spokeswoman, confirmed that the bulk of Narragansett brewing jobs are not located in R.I.  She did say some small batches of the brew have been made in the state but that the manufacturing jobs allied with Narragansett are not in Rhode Island.