The wine and beer garden is an integral part of the annual Saint Rocco Feast and Festival that opens tonight and runs through Sunday.
The refreshments are a big seller to go along with the doughboys and sandwiches, but thanks to the generosity of a parishioner who wishes to remain anonymous, the beer is free. Also free is the volunteer labor that staff the wine and beer garden booth.
Domenic Albanese, who Festival co-chairman Richard Montella calls “one of the greatest guys around,” and Frank Carnevale are the Feast’s longtime bartenders.
“They do this for the church,” Montella said. “Domenic has been at this for 50 years. There’s nothing he wouldn’t do for the church. The same for Frank; these two guys are incredible.”
Neither Albanese nor Carnevale get paid for their services. They also donate whatever tips they might make back to the church.
The Feast purchases the wine and beer from C&C Distributors, one of Rhode Island’s all-time leaders in the beverage industry that’s located at 119 Hopkins Hill Road in West Greenwich.
“We pay for whatever beer we tap,” said Montella, who works as a food broker. “Then we send whatever beer we don’t use back. Once we get the bill, a gentleman who lives in Johnston and is very, very generous to the parish, pays the bill.”
This year, the wine and beer garden will serve two kinds of beer: Coors Light and Heineken. Beer will sell this weekend by the 14-ounce cup for $3 and 60-ounce pitcher for $10.
“We only do draught beer,” Montella explained. “No bottles or cans, just draught.”
Last year, Saint Rocco’s went through a dozen full kegs of beer, equal to 1,700 glasses of beer.
As for wine, Montella announced that guests would have a choice of three different wines: burgundy, Chablis and white zinfandel at a cost of $4 for an eight-ounce plastic cup.
Wine is significantly less popular than beer at the Feast and Festival. When asked how many gallons of wine were sold last year, Montella said, “Not much. Around 16 gallons. We really don’t go through that much alcohol as compared to what it used to be.”
The wine and beer garden, which is located in the back right corner of the festival tent, will be open from 6 to 10 p.m. today through Saturday, and Sunday from 1 to 10 p.m.