Riverhead may be the craft brewery capital of Long Island, with six breweries located downtown, but several other towns are staking their claim to be must-visit destinations for craft beer lovers. Holbrook is now clearly on the list with the opening last November of a fourth craft brewery taproom, Freedom Brewing Corporation, which joined 1940’s Brewing, Spider Bite, and SquareHead to form a Holbrook Brewers Row.
Freedom’s co-owners, Mike DiGregorio and Bob Gugliotta, both natives of the Smithtown-St. James area, got their start as many brewery owners do — through homebrewing. “I started brewing over 25 years ago,” said Gugliotta, “after my wife gave me a homebrewing kit as a gift.” He brewed in his garage for many years before meeting up with fellow homebrewer DiGregorio in 2017. The two began brewing together and in 2019 decided to take their hobby to the next level by establishing Freedom Brewing.
“We looked around for a space that was reasonably priced and zeroed in on Holbrook,” said DiGregorio. Holbrook’s industrial area along Lincoln Avenue had already been approved for breweries, with Spider Bite across the street and just down the road the production space for Saint James Brewery and the brewhouse and taproom for 1940’s Brewing.
Freedom’s 1,100-square-foot space currently houses a 1 beer barrel (bbl) brewing system, but the co-owners are already planning for expansion. “We hope to move up to a 3 bbl system and do some contract brewing in the future,” said DiGregorio.
The beer lineup at Freedom includes their flagship Liberty Cream Ale (which the owners described as “old school”), Citra Blond Ale, Pale Rider Pale Ale and Freedom Fighter Double IPA. Freedom will also feature seasonal beers such as Pumpkin Ale and Maple Queen Breakfast Stout, which is brewed with two types of coffee and New York maple syrup.
Freedom’s taproom is currently open only on Thursday and Friday nights, with plans to open on Saturdays later this year. The taproom is available for private parties on other nights and Freedom is holding many special events, including comedy nights, live music, bingo, and darts contests.
In December, Freedom hosted an event for Habitat for Humanity to launch “The House Beer Built” fundraising campaign. More than 20 Long Island breweries and pubs have partnered with Habitat to raise funds to build an affordable home on Long Island for a deserving family.
“We are so grateful for Habitat for Humanity of Long Island,” said Gugliotta, “and believe everyone should have access to affordable housing.” In the campaign, a $50 card gives the donor one free drink at each of the participating breweries and pubs until the end of 2023 – a value of more than $200. 1940’s Brewing and Spider Bite are also participating so donors can have a Holbrook Brewers Row pub crawl on Lincoln Avenue for a good cause.
Freedom Brewing Corp. is located at 921 Lincoln Avenue, Suite 3 (back entrance) in Holbrook. For more information visit freedombrewingcorp.com.
Bernie Kilkelly is the editor and publisher of LIBeerGuide.com.