Rapscallion Brewing of Sturbridge is transitioning all of its brewery operations slightly north, to a 3,900-square-foot industrial space at 8 Meadow Road in Spencer. Owned by twin brothers Cedric and Peter Daniel, the duo hold Rapscallion’s original hometown close to their hearts and plan to keep at least some operations within town limits. The Daniel brothers, and their head brewer Jonas Noble, spoke with WBJ about why the more rural parts of Massachusetts have proven a good place to do business, expansion in the time of coronavirus, as well as the return of their pre-packaged beer options.
So, you’ve just expanded. How many locations are you maintaining now, between brewing and running taproom spaces?
100% of brewing will be done in Spencer with plans to open a tap room and beer garden in spring/summer at the brewery. Our restaurants in Acton and Concord are still operating.
We are in the midst of opening a new tap room in Sturbridge, right off Route 20, with plans to be open early to mid-spring.
We were fortunate to find our new brew home in Spencer, as we wanted to maintain our presence in Greater Sturbridge, where we have been for the last eight years. This community truly embraces and supports local, small independent shops, and we are focused on returning that support by truly committing to our customers when they walk in our doors. We understand, especially this day in age, guests have personal and work challenges, and we want to make sure they are treated very well so they can enjoy their dining experience.
Are there challenges associated with working west of Worcester?
Not that we witness daily. This area is a bit forgotten as many folks may think of the Worcester area or further west — the Amherst/Northampton area — as the places to go for food and drink. Greater Sturbridge has 1,000+ hotel rooms, 100+ dining locales and so many recreation outlets between all the lakes, state parks, conservation and rail trails.
How has Rapscallion fared during the pandemic? Have there been any notable challenges or wins?
How do you decide what kind of beer to brew?
At the moment we’ve scaled back to our mainstays — around five styles — based on occupancy limits with the state during the pandemic.
Jonas: With a new start, I will hope to premiere some new beers in celebration of new beginnings. One in the works is a play on our top seller, Honey, evolved into a some form of IPA. Pre-COVID, I was also looking into some form of kettle sour, which may find its way into the works as well as other classic favorites that have been put on hold due to everything. Our new, more limited draft selection will put an even heavier focus on quality and freshness.
What is it like planning for the 2021 season at this time?
Is there anything else new or exciting you’d like to mention?
Cans – 12-ounce cans! The last time our brewery was packaging in volume was in 2006, in Lowell, with 12-ouce bottles. We are looking forward to bringing back a format to allow our followers and guests the option to grab a six-pack or more with them. We are hoping by early summer select styles like Honey or Lager to be readily available at all our locations.
This interview was conducted and edited for length and clarity by WBJ Staff Writer Monica Busch.