As the annual Long Island Craft Beer Week returns with dozens of events from May 11 to 20, there’s lots to toast, from new microbreweries opening to established beer makers expanding.
Since New York State created a farm brewery license in 2012, the number of craft breweries on LI more than tripled from 12 to 44 today — 26 of which are farm breweries that use locally grown ingredients.
“The vast majority of these breweries are small manufacturing businesses that support their local communities and create thousands of jobs,” says Paul Leone, executive director of the New York State Brewers Association.
The association says the economic impact of the beer industry statewide is generating $4 billion. Several communities across Nassau and Suffolk are hoping to reap similar benefits from breweries opening this year.
Small Craft Brewing Co. in Amityville opened its tasting room in March, and Harbor Head Brewing in Northport opened a sampling room in January next to the Whale’s Tale Restaurant in the Britannia Marina.
Eastern Front Brewing Co. in Mattituck is getting ready to open its new tasting room pending final permits. In Huntington, Six Harbors Brewing Company will open its new brewery and tasting room on New York Avenue soon.
Long Beach Brewing Company recently began commercial distribution of kegs from its new brewery on Lawson Boulevard in Oceanside, where it plans to open a tasting room this summer. That brewing will share its facility with another farm brewery, Flying Belgian with the two companies using the same brewing system.
Westhampton Beach Brewing Co. is putting the finishing touches on its brewhouse and tasting room in the Hampton Business District. In Riverhead, North Fork Brewing Company installed its new brewhouse in January in the old Second Street firehouse. North Fork Brewing is located in the same building as Long Beard Brewing Co., which is applying for a farm brewery license. Both breweries hope to open tasting rooms by summer.
A new brewery in Patchogue, Patchogue Beer Project, has installed its brewing equipment and plans to open its tasting room this summer, becoming the third brewery in town after long-established BrickHouse Brewery and Blue Point Brewing.
Secatogue Brewing Company hopes to become the first brewery to open in West Islip, with a summer debut.
In addition to the new breweries, older LI breweries have been growing and expanding. Fire Island Beer Company, founded in 2009, is close to opening a tasting room at its new brewery in Bay Shore, in the building it shares with Great South Bay Brewery on Drexel Drive. Brewers Collective, established in Bay Shore in 2014, opened a larger tasting room in January.
Moustache Brewing in Riverhead, founded in 2012, is quadrupling the size of its brewery, including an expanded tasting room that is expected to open by summer. 1940s Brewing Company, a Holbrook farm brewery founded in 2014, is increasing production and adding staff in its brewery and sales operation. It was recently recognized by the Brewers Association as one of the 50 fastest growing craft breweries nationwide.
The most dramatic expansion is taking place in Patchogue, with Blue Point’s new 60,000-square-foot brewery taking shape on the former site of Briarcliffe College on West Main Street. The building will include a tasting room overlooking the brewhouse and an outdoor beer garden expected to open by summer.
As LI Craft Beer Week prepares to kick off with a cask ales festival in Farmingdale, the local brewing community will give back with its annual “Can for a Can” food drive. Beer lovers can get a can of special Craft Cares collaboration beer by donating a can of food to Long Island Cares. According to Dave Schultzer of Bellport Cold Beer and Soda, one of the organizers, in 2017 the drive collected 3,500 pounds of canned food and this year hopes to top 5,000 pounds.
LI CRAFT BEER WEEK EVENTS
• May 11 cask events in Farmingdale.
• May 12 Town Takeover in Farmingdale. Brewers will be in attendance for attendees to “meet and greet.”
• May 14 Pint Glass Pickup night. Each glass will include a wristband allowing patrons access to a variety of special offers (also to be listed on website) at participating breweries and restaurants to encourage patronage year round.
• May 19 cask event in Port Jeff Station.
• May 20 Town Takeover in Patchogue.
• Can for a Can Food Drive runs throughout Long Island Craft Beer Week at all participating locations. Donors of three or more non-perishable food items get a 16-ounce can of Craft Cares Bi-Coastal IPA.
For more information on Long Island Craft Beer Week 2018 and the Craft Cares “Can for a Can” food drive, go to licbw.us.
Bernie Kilkelly is the editor and publisher of LIBeerGuide.com.