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Harpoon History from 1991 - 1995


1991: Package redesign
1993: Harpoon IPA
1993: Festivals
1994: 60 barrel brewhouse

1991: Harpoon package redesign

A new package was designed for the release of our brand new fall seasonal beer, Harpoon Octoberfest, in 1991. The package was such a hit internally that we redesigned our entire line of packaging. The checkers were a nod to the German Oktoberfest tradition, and the corner art is a visual homage to the season.

Package Redesign
Package Redesign


1993: Harpoon IPA introduced as a summer seasonal

Harpoon IPA was first brewed as a summer seasonal in 1993. Harpoon was a small, struggling Boston “micro-brewery” at the time. In the early 1990s, hoppy pale ales were being brewed in the Pacific Northwest and California but there were no craft beers being brewed in the rest of the US that showcased the kinds of aromas derived from Northwest hops.

Harpoon had two year-round beers, Harpoon Ale and Harpoon Golden Lager, and an emerging seasonal product line. The summertime did not, however, seem to have a style that linked the season to a particular beer by way of tradition or history.

The compulsion to do something different, which got Harpoon started in the first place, surfaced in selecting a beer style for our summer seasonal. We decided to make a beer that was a tribute to the Pacific Northwest. But we chose a traditional English style, an IPA, and used Northwestern US hops and not English hops. It was a hybrid that we thought would have a few fans, and a lot of critics. It was a VERY extreme beer for 1993. Instead of turning people off, it quickly became our bestselling beer and transformed the company. By August of 1993, the company was profitable for the first time since the founding of the company in 1986. Our IPA made Harpoon the brewery it is today.

Harpoon IPA - 1993


1993: First St. Patrick's & Summer Festivals

We were having so much fun with everyone at Harpoon Octoberfest we decided it was high time to add a couple more festivals to the calendar. Being a Boston brewery (a South Boston brewery, no less!), it only made sense to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with a grand party. Of course, the New England summers presented another great opportunity to welcome everyone to the brewery and help us kick off the summer season.

First St. Patrick's Day Festival


First Summer Festival


1994: 60 barrel brewhouse installed at Harpoon in Boston

As the craft beer movement (and Harpoon beer) gained popularity, we quickly outgrew our original 20-barrel brewhouse. In 1994 we installed a 60-barrel brewhouse which enabled us to brew three times the beer in the same amount of time. It's not always easy trying to keep up with all you thirsty Harpoon drinkers!

First St. Patrick's Day Festival


First Summer Festival