Frank Jones was born in the fall of 1832 in our hometown, Barrington NH. He was raised in a farmhouse on New Hampshire’s “commerce route”, now known as Route 4. He left the farm as a teenager and went to Portsmouth as a barefoot Barrington boy to work. In 1858 he discovered his love for brewing. He partnered with John Swindell, owner of Swindell brewing located on Bow Street in what is today the Seacoast Repertory Theater.
Jones soon bought out Swindell and grew the brewery beyond capacity, eventually building what is still known as the Frank Jones Brewery on Islington Street. Still standing are the multi story brew house, ale cooperage building, and the malt house. By the early 1880’s the Brewery employed over 500 and at its peak produced 250,000 barrels per year, six types of ales, in three breweries.
Considered a “robber baron” of the east, Jones diversified his investments to include the Wentworth By The Sea and Rockingham Hotels, (the bust of FJ can be seen in the top right dormer at the Rockingham), founder of the Granite State Insurance company, Portsmouth Trust Company, and he held the position of President of the Boston and Maine Railroad. He was twice elected mayor of Portsmouth and served two terms as a congressman. Frank Jones died in 1902, only 3 years after he sold the Brewery to British investors in 1889 just ten years prior to Prohibition – what a visionary!
The Ale has returned to the market twice since prohibition. The Eldridge brewing company reopened the Portsmouth Brewery and sold FJA until 1950. Don Jones, brother of Peter Jones your host, contracted with Catamount Brewing in 1989 and distributed FJA with the help of two salesmen and one driver across NH. Once demand grew to 3,000bbls/yr Jones opened the Frank Jones Brewing Company in Portsmouth’s Industrial Park South in 1991.
We thank you for coming to Frank Jones Restaurant & Pub to enjoy our hospitality, great food and Frank Jones Ale!
The Jones Family