News The Last Pint is Poured at Portsmouth Brewery – New Hampshire’s First Craft Brewery

Although owners Peter Egelston and his wife Joanne Francis had hoped to reopen the iconic Portsmouth Brewery in Portsmouth, NH after a broken sprinkler system flooded the brewery and restaurant a year ago, the cost of meeting new building codes made the task impossible. The state’s first craft brewery has served its last pint.

More than more than 20,000 gallons of water flooded the brewery and restaurant on June 17th of last year when a compression fitting ruptured in a joint in a 2-inch pipe that was part of the sprinkler system that was installed in the 1980’s.

As a result, reconstruction would have required significant building code upgrades, the cost of which were not fully covered by insurance. “Our insurance would have paid to return the place to the condition it was in five minutes before the pipe broke, with an additional allowance for code upgrades, but that allowance had a limit, and the upgrades required by the city would have exceeded that,” said Egelston. “Try as we might to find a way around it, at the end of the day, this simple arithmetic forced our hand.”

The Portsmouth Brewery, founded in 1991 by Peter Egelston and his sister Janet, was New Hampshire’s first craft brewery.

Peter is a craft beer industry pioneer, who in addition to founding Portsmouth Brewery also co-founded the Northampton Brewery in 1987 and founded Smuttynose Brewing Company in 1994.

At a time when craft breweries are closing for a wide host of reasons, including poor business management, declining growth in the segment, increased cost of doing business -and other reasons, it is unfortunate to see a longtime brewery close to an accident such as a broken pipe.

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