Bristol has a new brewery, Pivotal Brewing Company


BRISTOL – Todd Nicholson and Rebecca Ernst woke up one day and decided that owning a brewery was what they had always wanted to do.

Then they did.

Last month, the co-owners opened Pivotal Brewing Co. at 500 Wood St. in Bristol. This lasted more than two years.

This opening “was packed,” Nicholson said. The appetite for new breweries is great. They had many Instagram followers even before they opened.

They made a business plan. They worked with SCORE, the Service Corps of Retired Executives. They found their perfect space, in Bristol’s Historic Industrial Park, a former factory that made aircraft wire, and now called Unity Park.

They chose the name Pivotal because it was their personal dream to quit their job. Nicholson, who grew up in Massachusetts, works in marketing in the tech industry and will continue to do so for the time being. Ernst, who grew up near New Orleans, Louisiana, left her job as an event producer behind to work full-time for Pivotal.

Of course, the pivotal word has become part of COVID jargon as businesses have changed and adapted during the pandemic.

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They did too. Construction of their stunning brewery and taproom has been delayed by COVID. Nicholson called it “difficult” to put it mildly.

When they posted their first photo of their space on social media, there were no windows, only holes. With ceilings of 35 to 45 feet, the canvas was blank.

Light floods the industrial space through windows so large that it took four people to install each.

Pours launch beers at Pivotal Brewing Company.  From left to right: Hello, my names are Pivotal, ESB and SippiCan Fruit salad.

Art and furniture made their taproom unique.

“We wanted it to be awesome, warm and delicious,” Ernst said.

With its eclectic decor, art walls, and mismatched furniture, this is a place you can pull out a sofa, not just a stool.

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“Customers can be quite comfortable and cozy,” she said.

Nicholson said they will connect craft beer to their decor. There will be something for all palates, from sour wines aged in barrels to bitters.

They opened with three beers.

The three launch beers from Pivotal Brewing Company in Bristol are an IPA, a very special bitter and a fruity sour.

Their flagship product is a double IPA, a lovely hazy New England style called Hello My Name is Pivotal.

ESB is a special English bitter beer.

SippiCan fruit salad is a fruity witbier dosed with pomegranate. Nicholson describes it as “wheat with a fruity nose, like a fruit salad”.

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Other versions will be introduced with different fruits.

Three new beers were introduced last week: Follow the Stack is an Imperial stout; Weekapaug Groove, an API; and It’s Electric, a fruity sour.

They offer castings, flights and take out cans.

With its eclectic decor, works of art and mismatched furniture, Pivotal Brewing aims for a funky and cozy atmosphere.

The taproom will be served by food trucks and vendors to bring food on site. You can also order delivery to restaurants in the area.

This is where the location in Unity Park will pay off for Pivotal. Finally, it will house the Borealis Coffee Company; Basil & Bunny, the vegetarian catering company; Brick Pizza Co., which is currently recruiting; and a distillery, according to Nicholson.

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They designed the brewery with long-term growth and scalability in mind, Ernst said. They start with 140 barrels of aging capacity and have the capacity to grow and go out in their facilities.

If you can’t find the brewery, follow the stack that rises high above the building.

The Bristol Brewery has an experienced brewer, Ben Adams.

Pivotal is already a good neighbor and collects non-perishable food donations for the East Bay Food Pantry and the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. They want you to help them fill their tote by December 19.

Details: Pivotal Brewing Co., 500 Wood Street, Bristol, pivotalbrewing.com. Hours are Thursday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday 2 p.m.-9 p.m., Saturday noon-9 p.m. and Sunday noon-5 p.m.



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