Apponaug Brewing deals with fallout of flooding


The two feet of flooding at Apponaug Brewing Company receded in less than a day following the second-highest flood in the recorded history of the Pawtuxet River.

Still, though, the scars of the flood were visible throughout the business, located in the old Pontiac Mills, as employees worked to get the brewery ready to serve customers again.

Co-owner Tamara McKenney said that ever since she and her employees were able to get back into the building – 10 a.m. the day after – they’ve been hard at work to get the space back in shape, from removing mud to thoroughly cleaning equipment.

“Throughout the whole building, we had to remove a significant amount of our interior walls, drying that out now and then we’re going to have to replace them,” McKenney said. “Anyone who’s done construction knows that it’s very messy; we got rid of the river mess only to now have construction mess.”

Among the hardest hit parts was the kitchen, which McKenney estimates is a 90 percent loss.

“All of our refrigeration was lost because all the compressors got wet,” McKenney said. “Our walk-in coolers were fine, but we had to replace beer product, some pumps in the brewery. Pretty much anything that was two feet and below was lost.”

Throughout the rest of the building, McKenney said that the company also lost anything that was on the ground, which included takeout boxes, some bottles of alcohol, and other items that Apponaug Brewing Company was looking to sell.

A major hangup for the company as they recover is that they do not have flood insurance. McKenney said that the lack of flood insurance led to their insurance company notifying them that they would not be covered under their business interruption insurance.

“Payroll, all of that, is on my tab,” McKenney said.

Despite this, McKenney said that the business is still in OK financial shape. She also isn’t planning on starting a GoFundMe or similar fundraiser at the time.

Though it is still closed to the public, Apponaug Brewing Company employees have still been working, though in significantly different roles than normal. Other than Christmas Day, McKenney said that employees have been in every day since the 19th.

“We have a great team,” she said.

McKenney also said that she has seen a lot of community support throughout the closure. An event that the company held on Christmas Eve, where they sold gift cards, still went on despite the flooding.

“There’s local businesses that are buying our beer that we can sell in kegs, bars that can carry our beer,” McKenney said. “People come by to buy the canned beer that we can still sell. A lot of people have reached out to incredible support.”

The company is targeting mid-January to reopen, though McKenney acknowledged that that timeframe was “aggressive.”

When they do come back, though, they’re looking to celebrate with a party, and McKenney said they’re looking to show the public that they’re coming back stronger than before.

“I don’t know what we’ll do for a party, but we’ll do something to celebrate coming back,” she said. “I can turn anything into a party.”

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