About 95 miles south of Newburyport, in the seaside community of Westport, located about halfway between New Bedford and Fall River, lie Buzzards Bay Brewing and Westport Rivers Winery. Sister community organizations, both entities were conceptualized about 15 years ago with the inspiration of big sky meeting blue water and hoping a brewery and a winery would benefit South Coast residents and tourists.
Here is the joint mission statement:
In 1982 the Russell Family purchased the historic, 140 acre “Long Acre Farm.” Following a family discussion, a stewardship statement was drafted. At the heart of this statement is the Russell Family’s belief that they are stewards of both land and possessions; that these are not truly owned, but rather are temporarily gifted and to be used in a fashion honoring those who came before and those who follow afterward. The family declared they would use this South Coast farmland both for agricultural products (including food, wine and beer) and for education (about the value of working natural resources). The Russell’s founded both Buzzards Bay Brewing and Westport Rivers Winery upon this deep regard for local agriculture and education. As of 2006 over 300 acres of working farmland has been permanently preserved by the companies.
Land stewardship and natural resource conservation and education. We already have that in Newburyport…but we don’t have a brewery or a winery. The winery idea is unlikely due to the limitation of available land that could be used for such a purpose, not to mention the existing competition in the winery industry.
To the north, just over the state line in South Hampton, is the large Jewel Towne Vineyards, built up in the 1970s and now has nearly 100 vintages. To the south, in Ipswich, is the Russell Orchards and Winery, which has produced fruit wines and ciders since 1988. And on the other side of I-95, in Middleton, is the Red Oak Winery, formed in 2002 with the sole purpose of purchasing Napa Valley grapes and producing red and white vintages.
What about a brewery? Don’t go frothing at the mouth yet. Sure, it could be a beer brewery, manufacturing bottles with names like Port Ale, Yeat IPA, or Newburyport Nectar. But after chatting today with one of SEED’s activists, the idea arose to brew, err distill, a local variety of vodka.
Think about it.