It was a dark, chilly Saturday evening, late in November 2020, and my wife and I were driving home from her parents house. We were going to the house that we bought mid-pandemic in August, in the small town of Upton MA. While I was driving, my wife was scrolling through social media, and she exclaimed –
“Did you know that there is a brewery opening in Upton???”
I didn’t know, and she quickly informed me that the opening day for curbside pickup at Rushford and Sons was fast approaching – December 3rd.
By the time we got home, she had recited all of the beers that Rushford and Sons offers. I was intrigued to hear of a great mix of styles; a juicy grapefruit IPA, a dry Irish stout, an ESB, a brown ale, a honey blonde ale, and a Belgian style abbey ale. Not to mention, promise of some limited small-batch releases.
I have been saying for some time that – although I enjoy a good IPA, whether a juicy, hazy NEIPA or a piny, tangy West Coast IPA or a dry brut IPA – the beer market is over-saturated with IPAs. I firmly believe that newer breweries (and some well-established, too) should explore some different styles of beer. Traditional styles of beer.
And that is exactly what Rushford and Sons do – their motto/tagline is Honor, Tradition, Progress.
The brewery itself is housed in an old oil-company garage, in the center of Upton’s soon-to-be business district. This gives the place a really authentic, effortless sense of industrial chic, something that so many breweries are striving to achieve. A perfect location, with huge potential.
After picking up a mix-pack of their beers, my wife and I sat down for a Sunday-evening at-home date-night; a beer sampling of the entire core range of beers from Rushford and Sons. We were hooked!
Fast forward to January, and I had gotten to know the three majority owners somewhat. I’ve visited at least once every week, and tried every single one of their core range and limited releases (one of which was my beer of choice for New Year’s Eve!).
After seeing a post on their Facebook page about seeking investors, I got talking to Brian Goodman – the high-energy, super passionate general manager – about the prospect of getting involved. Brian presented to me their business plan, and made a great case for getting involved. Honestly, I think I was probably sold on the prospect before even seeing this info, but it was definitely reassuring!
Some might say that opening a business – a brewery nonetheless – in the midst of a once-in-a-century pandemic is ill-advised. Equally, becoming an investor is perhaps also a risk – but there is no reward without risk, and I believe in the Rushford and Sons business plan!
Leaping forward, my involvement as a silent investor in the business – one of several silent investors – has not quite been silent! Mike Rushford, head brewer, was extremely excited to take delivery of the new, full-sized brewing equipment in March. And I was thrilled to be able to help him receive the equipment and get some of it assembled!
Since daylight savings, Friday evenings have been great for the 3-mile roundtrip walk to the brewery with the dog. I get to pick up some beers, and the pup gets some well-deserved belly rubs from Brian, Mike and their third partner, Eric Martin.
Most recently, the brewery hit a huge milestone – as of April 17th, they are now open for outdoor seating!
Naturally, I attended opening day! Although a little chillier and breezier than we had hoped, the weather was not a reflection of the day. The local food truck served some delicious food, while the three owners and their wives spent the afternoon serving amazing beers to the tables – flights and pints being enjoyed by up to 48 people at a time!
It really was an awesome day – speaking to Mike after the fact, he says that there was something surreal about pouring beers that he made, while watching groups of people enjoying them. Similarly, there was something super satisfying about the fact that my investment and a small amount of my assistance helped get Rushford and Sons to this point.
I am extremely excited for the future of Upton and the centrally located Rushford and Sons. And I hope to see some of you there!