One year after breaking ground on its new West Main Street brewery in Patchogue, Blue Point Brewing Company will hold a party on October 13 celebrating its 20th anniversary and its move.
The party will be at the new brewery a half mile from the original River Avenue brewery, which is scheduled to close at the end of the year. Blue Point, bought by Anheuser-Busch InBev in 2014, was founded by Long Island natives Mark Burford and Pete Cotter in 1998. At the time, it was the first brewery to open on LI in 40 years, since the closing of Linden Brewery in 1949.
“We thought the time was right because there were people out there who wanted fresh, high-quality beer,” says Burford, who is now Blue Point’s brewmaster emeritus. “Other parts of the country had local microbreweries and we saw an opportunity to meet the demand in the market between Montauk and Manhattan.”
After perfecting its flagship Toasted Lager beer, Blue Point began contract brewing it at a Maryland brewery and distributing six-packs to retailers in 2000. Popular beers soon followed, including Winter Ale, Summer Ale, Hoptical Illusion double IPA and Blueberry Ale.
The beers gained widespread recognition, including medals at the prestigious Great American Beer Festival and a gold medal at the World Beer Cup. Distribution steadily expanded from New England to Florida.
The new 54,000-square-foot brewery cost $35 million and was built on the site of the now-closed Briarcliffe College. Its annual brewing capacity is 60,000 barrels with room to grow to reach 150,000, Burford says. Production began in May and according to Burford, the facility now produces all of Blue Point’s seasonal beers, which had formerly been contract brewed.
Construction begins soon on a second-floor tasting room overlooking the Patchogue River and an indoor beer hall/restaurant overlooking the production facility. Plans include an outdoor beer garden and public tours of the brewery.
In addition to great beers, Blue Point became known for its deep involvement in the Patchogue community through its support of the Alive After Five downtown summer festival and events at the brewery, including the annual Cask Ale Festival.
“One of the best things about the new brewery and the growth that it will bring is that we were able to do it in Patchogue,” Burford says.
For more info on Blue Point Brewing Co., visit bluepointbrewing.com.
Bernie Kilkelly is the editor and publisher of LIBeerGuide.com.