Long Island Breweries Pitch In During COVID-19 Crisis

greenport face shields
Greenport Harbor Brewing delivers face shields to Eastern Long Island Hospital

Several Long Island craft breweries have been busy doing more than making beer during the coronavirus crisis. Some are helping make critically-needed personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers and first responders, and providing support for local food banks and community groups.  

Greenport Harbor Brewing Company, along with other members of the Village of Greenport Business Improvement District, formed a team that has developed and produced over 3,000 face shields. Led by Greenport Harbor co-founder Richard Vandenburgh, the team has donated face shields to hospitals on the East End, including Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital, Southampton Hospital and Peconic Bay Medical Center. Face shields have also been donated to local fire departments. paramedics, pharmacies and supermarkets.

“It is amazing when a community comes together as it has in this effort,” said Vanderburgh, “and we could not have had the impact we’re making without our donors and volunteers.”

The team, named Operation COVID-19 Defense, includes Greenport Harbor Brewing, William J. Mills & Co. Sailmakers and Awnings, Mark Miller of Miller Environmental, Bob Gammon who is co-lead advisor for the Southold/Greenport Schools Robotics Club, and Reflective Image Manufacturing in Greenport.  The clear vinyl glass for the face shields is cut on machinery at Mills Awnings and the face shields are then assembled by teams of volunteers at Greenport Harbor’s Peconic brewery.

To cover the costs of materials for the face shields, Operation COVID-19 Defense started a GoFundMe campaign with a goal of $25,000, which was reached in three days and has currently raised more than $45,000. According to Vanderburgh, the coalition has received requests for another 6,000 shields from area hospitals, nursing homes, post office and other businesses. 

Other breweries on Long Island are raising funds for food banks and local communities.  Great South Bay Brewing in Bay Shore is raising funds to benefit the Island Harvest Food Bank and help feed hungry families on Long Island during the COVID-19 crisis. For every GSB gift card sold during the month of April, the brewery will donate a portion of the sales to Island Harvest.

Lithology Brewing in Farmingdale is raising funds to support the Farmingdale Community Summit Family Assistance Fund, a group formed to provide emergency funds to Farmingdale residents in need during the crisis.  Lithology is donating 15 percent of the proceeds from all pick-up and delivery orders, and the total proceeds from t-shirts and other merchandise, to the charity.

Blue Point Brewing in Patchogue is raising spirits and rewarding health care workers and first responders with its Toast Your Hero initiative. Long Islanders can nominate neighbors who are doing great things by creating a post about them on social media, tagging @bluepointbrewing and #TOASTYOURHERO.  Blue Point is selecting one hero per week to receive a free meal from the brewpub, a card to redeem a free pint for every brewpub visit during 2020, and a whole lot of beer. The gifts are dropped off by a special retrofitted Blue Point Brewing Fire Truck and the first hero honored last week was Maria Kirchner, an ICU nurse at Mather Hospital.

Long Island breweries are continuing to brew and are offering curbside pick-up and delivery services to get beer to customers during the coronavirus shutdown. A complete list of brewery pick-up and delivery services is available at libeerguide.com/brewery-to-go-delivery. 

Bernie Kilkelly is the editor and publisher of LIBeerGuide.com.

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