Bright Eye Beer Company is planning to open the first craft brewery in the City of Long Beach on Feb. 21.
Co-owner Luke Heneghan, who grew up in nearby Point Lookout, built the brewery in a 5,000-square-foot space that was originally a five-and-dime store and spent a reported $800,000 on renovations.
“We’re excited to be opening in the heart of Long Beach and hope that our taproom will become a place for community gatherings and local artists to display their work.” says Heneghan.
He and his partners, Molly Allare and his sister, Keira Heneghan, spent a year installing a 15-barrel brewhouse and a 40-foot bar in the building built in 1939.
“We were committed to recycling the wood from this historic building,” he says. “We took over 150 feet of old-growth pine from floor joists. We removed and used them to make the top of the taproom bar and other table tops.”
The taproom also features recycled steel beams from the old Point Lookout Pavilion that was taken down in 2018. The brewery’s name, Bright Eye, was the name of a fish packing company, Bright Eye Fish Company, in Point Lookout in the 1930s and ’40s.
“A fish with bright eyes meant that it was freshly caught,” says Heneghan. “So we are proud to be carrying on the name with our freshly made local beers.”
He honed his brewing skills while working at his family’s Point Lookout restaurant, J.A. Heneghan’s Tavern. To launch the new brewery, he enlisted head brewer Brendan Maxim of Port Jefferson, who brewed for Laguna Beach Beer Company in California and Crazy Mountain Brewing in Colorado. Among the beers Bright Eye will have on its 16 taps are a West Coast IPA, a New England-style hazy IPA, and a creamsicle ale served on a nitro tap.
Bright Eye is licensed as both a microbrewery and as a farm brewery, and Heneghan expects to use local ingredients, including hops from Route 27 Hop Yard in Moriches. Bright Eye plans to sell crowlers and self-distribute kegs to local bars and restaurants, including J.A. Heneghan’s.
“I hope they will set aside at least one tap for us in Point Lookout,” he jokes.
Bright Eye Beer Company is located at 50 W. Park Ave. in Long Beach. For more info visit brighteyebeerco.com.
Bernie Kilkelly is the editor and publisher of LIBeerGuide.com.