In 1666 an early "Yankee" named Nicholas Cottrell, together with a group of other settlers, purchased land from the native Narragansett Indians which would eventually become known as the town of Westerly, Rhode Island. Long after the establishment of the town, in 1855, a descendent of Nicholas named Calvert B. Cottrell formed a manufacturing company in Pawcatuck, Connecticut, on the other side of the small river across from Westerly. C.B. Cottrell & Sons, Inc. gained a worldwide reputation as manufacturers of printing presses. With over 100 patents, the Cottrell Company revolutionized printing so much that there was scarcely a magazine or periodical of any standing issued in the United States that was not printed on a Cottrell press in the late 19th and early 20th century.
The Cottrell Brewing Company was founded by Charles Cottrell Buffum, Jr. and his wife Ann in 1996. Charles, a native of Westerly, is the great, great grandson of C.B. Cottrell, and has set up shop within the old factory walls where the Cottrells made their presses for over 100 years. Occupying 9000 square feet of the former 350,000 square foot factory, the brewery's present annual production capacity is about 2000 barrels, and distribution is very limited, with the Cottrell beers available only in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
The company provides only products that are fresh, full of character, and at the top of their class. The first “shipment” of Old Yankee was on February 28th, 1997, when the first keg was rolled a few hundred yards down the street to the local watering hole and tapped to the cheers of an enthusiastic local crowd. The brewery makes only two beers, both of which we’ve picked up for you this month, and keeps them local to ensure freshness. This is how beer was made and distributed back in the days of C.B. Cottrell—locally produced, and locally consumed. Glad to see this brewery keeping it old school (and just as glad that they shared some of their brews with us for our members!).