Celebrating 25 years of The People’s Pint

We recently caught up with the Greenfield brewery and restaurant’s founder, Alden Booth.

The People's Pint in Greenfield. Alden Booth

On New Year’s Day this January, The People’s Pint celebrated 25 years of business in the Western Massachusetts town of Greenfield.

Part of the Mohawk Trail, Greenfield is both bucolic and eclectic, and The People’s Pint, a restaurant and brewery located downtown, might epitomize that vibe. We recently caught up with restaurant founder Alden Booth on 2½ decades of brewing beer, serving weird local food, and a notable visit from television host Anthony Bourdain.

What was the inspiration for you [and cofounder Dan Young] opening the restaurant?

Back in the ‘90s, in Greenfield especially, it was pretty much burgers and fries. There wasn’t a lot of unusual or unique food. We wanted a place to go and for our friends to go to. People in our area were going down to Northampton because that was kind of a hip place to go, but we didn’t wanna drive to Northampton all the time.


In the restaurant now there’s a sign listing which ingredients are locally sourced. Was that the idea from the beginning?

Our priority was just to do a few things really well. We had really great salads. And we pretty much started right off the bat looking for local seasonal foods, stuff that we could get from farms. Like we decided early on that we were gonna do burgers but we were only gonna do tomatoes on them when they were fresh from our own area. Some people said that’s crazy, you’re never gonna make it by doing that.

Are there menu items you’ve had from the beginning?

We have always smoked our own meats. Burritos we’ve always had. We have this spicy peanut noodle dish that people love. We do some meat, but we don’t do tons of meat, because we’re trying to cut back on the amount of meat that everyone eats. It’s easy for people who are vegans or vegetarians to eat here. We have more vegetarian dishes than not.

Why did you decide to open a brewery as well as a restaurant?


We always wanted to brew our own beers. We were both brewers, my partner had brewed for Long Trail. It’s expensive to open a brewery and we were trying to cut costs, so we found stainless tanks from an apple orchard, and hired a local welder to rig them for brewing beer.

What beers do people drink the most?

Our most popular beer has been the Farmer Brown. It’s hard to find good brown ales, there aren’t that many around. And then from the start, we had a West Coast IPA, Pied Piper, which is brewed with 100 percent cascade hops. We’ve always had those two on tap, right from the start.

How did you come up with the name of the restaurant?

We just kind of came up with it. After we opened we were like, ‘Oh hey, that’s communist stuff,’ but it wasn’t that, we just liked it.

Anthony Bourdain came to Greenfield, and People’s Pint, to make an episode of his show “Parts Unknown.” What do you remember about that?

He and his crew were here for a week, they ate here every day. His crew was fantastic to talk to. He was a little aloof; he traveled a lot and I know everywhere he went he talked to people all the time, but he wasn’t the easiest guy to chat with. He didn’t come to Greenfield to do a show on us. He came here and to the Cape to do a show on heroin addiction, something he struggled with when he was younger.


I’m sure some people’s views of Greenfield were shaped by that show. What’s Greenfield like for you?

A lot of people were upset by that show because it made Greenfield look like it was a druggie town. It’s more that Greenfield has been dealing with the heroin issue really well. Greenfield is cool, there’s a lot of beautiful scenery. We’re progressive, there’s artists and other things going on.

A lot of people’s favorite places have closed down since the pandemic. How’s business for you?

We closed for 15 months during the pandemic, didn’t do the whole takeout thing. Since we’ve been open it’s been a little tough. The price of food is so high now, it’s just so hard now to generate a lot of income. I’ve just always hated raising prices but the reality is we have to do it.

Another part of your ethos is to waste as little as possible. Can you talk about that?

We were really bummed out by all the trash that restaurants created because there was so much plastic and straws and little to-go things. So we decided right from the start that we’re going to do this without anything on the tables that was disposable. We started with cloth napkins. We composted and recycled everything and just cut down on the waste.

Is that difficult to do?


I thought it was pretty straightforward. You’ve just gotta make a commitment to it. We’ve had some chefs who had a hard time dealing with separating out food waste — I compost all that up at my little farm here. I grow some tomatoes and other things for the restaurant. We really only create less than a bag of trash every night. It’s kind of nice to see it can be done.


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