Great Rhythm Brewing Company | Portsmouth, NH

Award-winning industrial brewing and tasting room design

Opened in August of 2016, Great Rhythm Brewing Company's new facility elegantly pairs a retail and industrial environment. The inviting tasting room and a state-of-the-art brewery space is situated along the picturesque shore of Portsmouth's North Mill Pond.

The design was conceived in close collaboration with the business owners, who also served as general contractors for the project, building out many elements in the space themselves. Our objective was to reimagine an underutilized waterfront industrial building, and through adaptive re-use, create a dynamic customer experience and innovative brewing facility that complimented the revitalization of Portsmouth's up-and-coming West End neighborhood.

Critical to our design was providing a striking exterior—visible from the closest street, over 1,200 feet away—as well as a welcoming entrance to Great Rhythm's tasting room.

Upon entering the space visitors are greeted with an abundance of natural light and reclaimed wood, establishing a comfortable contrast to the building's pre-existing concrete surfaces and the brewery's stainless steel equipment. The windows in the tasting room look out on the North Mill Pond and into the central production area, again striking a balance between the natural and industrial. When the weather allows, two oversized garage doors can be opened to bring fresh air and an even greater connection to the outdoor environment.

This project was recognized by the AIANH with a 2017 AIANH Excellence in Architecture Merit Award.

AIANH Design Awards Jury Comments: The jury commended the choices made by the architects, in every aspect of the design. A few simple gestures on the front façade—super graphics, a wood entry box and vertically stacked reclaimed windows—create both an elegant composition and an unmistakable image for the brewery that, according to the architects, is visible from 1,200 feet away. Reclaimed wood is brought into the interior judiciously, but also monumentally, communicating across space and celebrating the high-ceilinged volume. The light colored wood and the monochromatic dark gray ceilings and concrete block also complement each other in color and texture, and add a surprising intimacy to an otherwise open volume. Simple garage doors, when open, provide an additional dramatic effect. The jury commented that this looked like it would be a fun place to go, an example of how a successful design can make for a successful business.



  • 2017 AIANH Excellence in Architecture
  • Merit Award

Project Team

  • Client & Construction Manager Scott Thornton, Owner
  • Project Architect Brandon Holben, AIA | LEED
  • Structural Engineer Summit Engineering
  • Wayfinding Fabrication Neokraft Signs
  • Photography David J. Murray, Matt Berkowitz
Great Rhythm Brewing Aerial View North Mill Pond

Aerial View Showing North Mill Pond

Great Rhythm Brewing Front Elevation and Main Entrance

Front Elevation and Main Entrance at Twilight

Great Rhythm Brewing Entrance Detail

Entrance Detail

Great Rhythm Brewing Garage Door Opening

Garage Door Opening

Great Rhythm Brewing Company Tasting Room

Tasting Room and Brewery

Great Rhythm Tasting Room Views

Tasting Room with Views to the Outdoors

Great Rhythm Brewing Aerial View Brewery and Tasting Room

Aerial View of Brewery and Tasting Room

Great Rhythm Beer and Brewing Area Detail

Beer and Brewing Area Detail