Thursday, January 14, 2016

Would You Like to Tour Carling Brewery?

Over the years, Natick has been home to a number of different businesses which have brought new opportunities and people into our community. While some would remain here for decades and become a major part of our town's history like Grandmother's Mincemeat or the Pfeiffer Shoe Factory, some businesses would only stay briefly even if they left behind impressive footprints.

Carling Brewery Beer Cans
One such business was the Carling Brewery. This Canadian Beer company, originally founded in 1818, gradually expanded its market throughout Canada and into the United Kingdom where it found significant success. Following the repeal of Prohibition in the 1930s the Carling company looked to expand its market into the United States as well with their first American brewery opening in Cleveland in 1934. Their Red Cap Ale and Black Label brands were moderately popular and were produced in the States. In 1954  the company  was looking to expand their brewing operations into New England. Twenty-one different communities around the Boston area were surveyed before Carling eventually settled on expanding their operations here in Natick. Construction on a plant soon began and they opened their new brewery, the biggest in the state at the time, in 1956.

Promotional brochure for Carling
The Carling Brewery was greeted enthusiastically by the town when it opened. The new industry meant the creation of as many as two hundred and fifty new jobs for  the people of Natick. The brewery was located very near Lake Cochituate on Route 9. To further integrate themselves into the Natick community the Carling company offered free tours of the brewery during the summer months. Unfortunately, you can no longer take tours of the brewery.  The Carling Company closed the plant in 1975, only nineteen years after opening. The building left behind was so large that it was initially difficult to find a new tenant for the site. It has now been used by several different occupants and remodeled over the years, though it is still one of the most distinctive buildings here with its mid-century modern design and prominent location.

There is, however, still a way to tour the Carling Bewery in Natick! Thanks to a promotional video put out in 1956 that was uploaded to YouTube its still possible to get to see the inner workings of one of Natick's biggest former employers. The video is embedded below and provides a very interesting look at the process of making and bottling beer that took place in Natick not too long ago. The Carling Company still manufactures beer in the United States with plants in both Ohio and North Carolina. 

For anyone interested in learning more about some local craft beers, I would encourage you to attend an upcoming event sponsored by our neighbor the Bacon Free Library. On February 11th at 7pm there will be a talk on the history of brewing as well as a tasting for visitors over 21.