Buttonwoods Brewery recently opened in Cranston, and it has everything a small-batch brewery should. There’s the diverse menu of craft beers. There’s a tasting room that anyone (of age) can visit. There’s even a cool location, in an old mill building on Wellington Avenue. But if there’s one thing Buttonwoods doesn’t have, it’s a big staff. The owner and sole full-time employee is Morgan Clark Snyder Jr., who has transformed his hobby into a full-time job. Snyder took some time away from brewing to talk to me about how he started, what he hopes to accomplish, and the focus of Buttonwoods Brewery.
How would you describe your role at Buttonwoods Brewery?
My role as the owner-head brewer-tasting room manager-cellarman-handyman is to do everything for the brewery. As a small operation I am the only full-time employee. That’s not to say I do everything by myself; I have a business partner who makes sure I keep my spending in check, four bar staff who keep the tasting room running smoothly, and a loyal pooch who keeps me sane.
How did you get involved in brewing?
I got involved the same way most people do, by being a broke college student looking for a cheap option to drink beer. So I started home brewing. Fun fact: home brewing quickly becomes an expensive hobby. I was hooked after my first batch. I told all of my friends I was going to open a brewery, [and] that was seven years ago. I started looking around for jobs at breweries and quickly found myself volunteering on the bottling line at a local craft brewery. Ultimately my time there led me to working in the world of distribution, which led me to my first job working as a brewer at The Bronx Brewery. After a few years working for someone else, it was time to start working for myself.
Where did the name Buttonwoods Brewery come from?
Buttonwoods comes from the old neighborhood located in Warwick where my parents bought a retirement home. It’s an old Victorian-era camp that later developed into a neighborhood. It inspired me to open the brewery in RI.
Why did you decide to make Cranston the home base for Buttonwoods Brewery?
Cranston was not our first choice, to be honest. The Buttonwoods neighborhood is located in Warwick, but we couldn’t find a space that was the right size or zoned for what we wanted to do, so we expanded our circle and found our current location overlooking 95 in Cranston. And honestly when we saw the space, it was a no-brainer. It was the perfect spot for us to open the brewery.
What beers are the focus of Buttonwoods Brewery?
Our core focus of beers is saisons and IPAs, but that’s not to say that’s all you find. We have a small amount of oak barrels dedicated to aging sours, and a few for aging clean big beers. We also brew some classic styles and some with modern twists such as pilsners, kolsch, and altbier. As a smaller brewery we have a unique ability to put out small batches of things that you may or may not see at other breweries.
What are your plans for the future?
Hard to really tell where we’re going in the future. The goal is continue to make good beer and grow. We’re looking into canning and bottling. We have a ton of sours and barrel aged beer in the works and hundreds of unique and fun ideas and recipes. Since we don’t have flagships, things will also will be changing and evolving and hopefully getting better.
If Buttonwoods Brewery had a mission statement, what are some of the things it may include?
Do better. Every time you come to the brewery the beer gets better and the experience gets better. I want to always be improving what beer is and can be.
530 Wellington Avenue, Cranston • 461-2337