Harpoon was started in 1986 by Dan Kenary, Rich Doyle, and George Ligeti. They were three friends who loved beer and loved drinking beer together but found the beer choices at the time to be limited.
They decided to build a brewery so that they could brew the beers that they wanted to drink. When it was founded the brewery was the first company to obtain a permit to manufacture and sell alcohol in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in over 25 years.
Harpoon Winter Warmer, introduced in 1988, was the first craft beer seasonal brewed in New England. The tradition of innovation carries through to the present. In 2013, Harpoon opened a new Beer Hall, offering fresh Harpoon beer flowing through 20 taps and an Austrian-made automated growler filler.