RI board to vote Weds. on $4M for new brewery

Isle Brewers Guild in Pawtucket.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – An obscure quasi-public state agency will vote Wednesday to borrow $4 million for a high-profile brewery development in Pawtucket that’s set to become the new home of Narragansett Beer.

The board of the R.I. Industrial-Recreational Building Authority (IRBA) is scheduled to approve a resolution authorizing it to borrow up to $4.02 million on behalf of Isle Brewers Guild by floating “taxable industrial revenue bonds,” according to a meeting agenda. A sister entity, the R.I. Industrial Facilities Corporation, has also posted the vote. Both are staffed by R.I. Commerce Corporation employees.

“We are very appreciative of the state of Rhode Island’s belief and support in our project,” Devin Kelly, a partner at Isle Brewers, said in a statement ahead of Wednesday’s vote.

Isle Brewers, a cooperative co-founded by Kelly and co-partner Jeremy Duffy, is building a full-service brewery on Main Street in Pawtucket. The complex will house multiple craft brewers, including Narragansett Beer, which plans to lease space there so it can begin brewing in Rhode Island for the first time since 1983. (Gov. Gina Raimondo’s former venture-capital firm is a Narragansett Beer investor.)

IRBA first approved the state-backed borrowing for Isle Brewers last December but is taking a new vote Wednesday because the transaction’s structure has changed, Isle Brewers spokesman Jon Duffy said in an email. The project is also relying on private funding and support from Webster Bank, the U.S. Small Business Administration and the city of Pawtucket, he said.

The resolution to be voted on Wednesday moves the deadline for IRBA to float the Isle Brewers bonds from the end of next month to June 9, 2017.

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) covers politics and the economy for WPRI.com. He writes The Saturday Morning Post and hosts Executive Suite. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

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