Attracted by the Haffenreffer background and business acumen as well as their network of distributors throughout the northeast, Falstaff Brewing Corporation purchased Narragansett Brewing Company on July 15, 1965 for $17 million in cash and $2 million in Falstaff common stock. The plan was for the brewery to continue operating as a wholly owned subsidiary of Falstaff under Haffenreffer management, and for the Narragansett brand to be retained and actively promoted.
The transaction was not exactly without its problems. Two days before the sale, the US Government began an anti-trust action against Falstaff—a suit that lasted until October 1974. US attorneys, concerned that the purchase of New England’s largest brewery would reduce competition, said that Falstaff should either ship their products into the area from its other breweries, or build its own brewery in the region.
Ballantine, Bohack, Munich and Falstaff. Ales included Croft, Pickwick, Bavarian, Ballantine, Boston Light, BB Stock and India Pale. The Narragansett Brewing Company of the 1970s even produced brands like Kreuger Pilsner, Haffenreffer Malt Liquor, Dresden, Bavarian (dark), Bock and Porter.
All the while, some 100 miles to the north, Anheuser-Busch was opening a new, state-of-the-art facility—a direct threat to Rhode Island’s only remaining brewery. State officials made overtures to Falstaff, offering their help and assistance in financing a new plant, but their efforts were rebuffed.