Though the Greenport Harbor Brewing Company is still taking baby steps to get the its Peconic location up and running, owner Rich Vandenburgh has not stopped dreaming big.
The Southold resident told The Suffolk Times he’d like to run a brew-pub-style restaurant at the property.
“The property is just under three acres so we’d have that ability there, and it’s kind of the ideal space for one,” Mr. Vandenburgh said. “We’re keeping [the Greenport location], that’s our heart and soul, but the new property would allow us to cultivate the brew pub restaurant side of the business.”
Building a brew pub in Southold would reflect local and national expansions of the craft beer industry.
Not only are two new breweries already in the works in Riverhead just two months into 2013, but Mr. Vandenburgh said the number of U.S. brewers registered with the Brewer’s Association has also been on the rise.
“When we first started three years ago there were just about 1,200 brewers nationwide,” he said. “Last time I checked, that number was over 2,000, with 700 to 1,000 breweries in planning. Long Island hasn’t historically been a leader in the craft beer world, but I think there’s a lot of talented, motivated people that recognize there’s a lot of room in the Long Island market for good craft beer.”
His advice for those thinking about getting into the brew game?
“Just do it,” he said. “Don’t worry about failure. If you’re passionate about what you’re doing then go for it. Start out small and build it up; that’s what’s happening with us.”
Though Mr. Vandenburgh said he is in favor of making his brew pub dreams a reality, he said some local restaurants and pubs aren’t so hot on the idea.
“We’ve gotten some pushback,” he said, “We explain to those people who bristle that it’s not an us-against-you thing. There needs to be a chorus where we’re all singing together to raise an appeal to the East End.”
He said developing the East End’s craft beer industry has the potential to bring in visitors to benefit all area restaurants.
“We feel like it’s a hot spot for craft beer and if the East End is becoming a place where wine and beer enthusiasts are coming to visit for the weekend, they may have a meal with us,” he said, “but they’ll also go to other locations and have meals. We want to make sure all the restaurants are going to succeed.
“Some places don’t [understand] that and it’s unfortunate. We’re not looking to take food out of restaurant owners’ mouths.”