The owners of New Hampshire's first licensed craft brewery celebrated their 30th anniversary in business at the beginning of this month by raising a pint with friends and political leaders, but they have some important messages to share as Granite Staters welcome the summer rush.

On June 1, both Gov. Chris Sununu and U.S. Rep. Chris Pappas, D-NH, visited The Portsmouth Brewery and met with co-founder Peter Egelston.

Courtesy Photo
Courtesy Photo

Egelston says Portsmouth was a gritty seaside city with a lot of potential when he and his sister, Janet, stumbled upon it after opening Northampton Brewery in Massachusetts in 1987.

Because brewing beer on-premise was something most people had never heard of at the time, Egelston said they put the brewhouse in the dining room behind glass, visible to guests.

Over the years, The Portsmouth Brewery has helped launch the career of many brewers, something that Egelston and his partner, Joanne Francis, are proud of.

Egelston is also proud of the people who work hard preparing food and serving customers. He is asking them to focus more on the concept of the customer as a guest as they move into a post-pandemic model of doing business.

"I'll point this out because there's been a lot of discussion in the hospitality industry, especially when it comes to tipping, and how there's a certain sense, I don't think it's amongst a lot of people, but there's a sliver of people who feel that because they're coming in with their money and they're tipping someone that they somehow bought this person's service," Egelston said.

Egelston says they hear stories of servers being treated poorly because they are tipped employees.

Egelston said taking the approach where customers are treated like guests - and are expected to behave as guests - shifts the dynamics.

"That old cliche about how the customer is always right, that may be true if you are a customer, but if you are a guest, maybe not. You know, there may be times where the guest isn't always right and it's one of the things we really need to think about as an industry," Egelston said.

Egelston said they would have normally had a big blowout for the 30th anniversary, but they will stretch the celebration out so everyone remains safe.

According to their website, they will be celebrating all year.

Portsmouth is expected to be very busy this summer, with many hotels already booked for the weekends.

That influx of visitors will help restaurant and shop owners who have been economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic since March of 2020.

Contact Managing News Editor Kimberley Haas at

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