In 1975, San Francisco multi-millionaire Paul Kalmanovitz gained control of the Falstaff Brewing Company. Two months later, the Narragansett Brewery asked the city of Cranston for nearly $750,000 in tax relief on the grounds that some of the company’s facilities were obsolete, thus overtaxed. With property taxes on the brewery and land coming in at more than $300,000, the Rhode Island General Assembly granted tax relief in the form of an exemption from the alcoholic beverage tax for the first 100,000 barrels of beer—saving the brewery almost $200,000 a year. Meanwhile, the brewery’s energy bill in 1980 reached $2.8 million; ninety-five percent of which going toward the production of beer.
In June of 1981, plans were made to convert the brewery’s oil-burning steam pipes. The brewery asked the Providence Gas Company for a year-round, five-year agreement of continuous service—something the company could not