Smuttynose Brewing Company was founded in 1994 by Peter Egelston, the same man who opened the Northampton Brewery (which is now the oldest brewpub in the northeast). Peter has built Smuttynose Brewing Company into one of the most recognized craft beer brands in New Hampshire.
In 1986, Peter’s sister Janet convinced him to leave teaching behind and help her open the Northampton Brewery in Massachusetts. Peter was a partial owner and became the head-brewer at Northampton until 1991. That same year, Peter and Janet opened the Portsmouth Brewery, New Hampshire’s first brewpub. In 1993, Peter broke out on his own with the purchase of the assets of the failed Frank Jones Brewing Company by a partnership formed between the Portsmouth Brewery and the Ipswich Brewing Company. Ipswich left the partnership in early 1994.
The company is named for Smuttynose Island, the third largest of the nine islands that form the Isles of Shoals, a small, rugged archipelago that lies seven miles off the craggy New Hampshire coast. The name Smuttynose appears on nautical charts from the seventeenth century, but its origins have been lost to time. Over the centuries the Isles of Shoals have been home to pirates and poets, ghosts and fishermen. In the 1870’s Smuttynose Island itself was the scene of a notorious double axe murder. Today, it is peaceful and desolate, a windswept haven for harbor seals and seagulls whose stillness belies its colorful and sometimes violent history.
The company’s annual production volume surpassed 15,000 barrels in 2006. Gross sales for Smuttynose Brewing Company in 2009 reached $5.7 million. The following year, construction began on Smuttynose’s new home on the historic 17-acre (6.9 ha) Towle Farm in Hampton, New Hampshire. The final capacity expansion at the original brewery was commissioned in 2012. Total production in 2012 was 40,744 barrels. The facility was opened to the public on May 29. The facility featured a four-vessel, 100hl, automated brewhouse, state-of-the-art bottle-filling equipment, tours, tastings and a nine-hole disc golf course.
In 2016 Smuttynose received LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, making it the second and largest brewery to receive the seal at the time.
On January 18, Smuttynose announced a bank auction of the brewery to be held on March 9, 2018, unless a buyer or partner were found. Key factors of the company’s financial challenges were a slowdown in the growth of craft beer sales, and a switch in consumer preference from beer in bottles to beer in cans. On March 9, lender The Provident Bank purchased the company at auction for $8.25 million. On March 16, Runnymede Investments said that it had purchased the company from The Provident Bank for an undisclosed amount.
Although our beers are now distributed in more than two dozen states, as well as overseas in Europe and Asia, our identity is anchored firmly here in coastal New England. We are still fundamentally a small brewer whose beers are inspired by the history, character and flavor of our region. Try one yourself and see!