Check the shelves at your local supermarket and chances are you’ll find bottles of Budweiser, Samuel Adams, and Coors.
But starting later this month, you’ll also find Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. six-packs.
Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. started its first bottling run Wednesday at its Peconic building, churning out freshly-labeled Otherside IPAs.
Starting April 20th, those beers — along with Black Duck Porter, Summer Ale and the Harbor Pale — will be distributed to Waldbaums, King Kullen, local IGA supermarkets, 7-Eleven and Whole Foods across New York, said founders John Liegey and Richard Vandenburgh.
The bottles will be available in Buffalo and as far north as Canada. By May, the beers will be available in Connecticut too.
“When we started almost six years ago, we thought we would just be in a little firehouse,” Vandenburgh said. “It’s just amazing how it’s taken off. It’s pretty mind-blowing.”
The mood in Greenport Harbor Brewing’s Peconic bottling room was jubilant Wednesday afternoon. Employees took turns filing fresh bottles into the labeling machine and placing the finished bottles into six-packs. In between checking the machines and putting away bottles, Liegey whipped out a camera to document the day.
When an employee accidentally dropped an empty brown bottle near the labeling machine, shattering the bottle to pieces, the rest of the workers laughed and cheered.
Liegey said at peak efficiency, the bottling line can churn out 3,000 bottles an hour. On Wednesday, they were running about 1,800 per hour.
“It’s awesome,” Liegey said over the din of the machine and the clink of bottles shuffling around. “This is going to push us out much farther.”
Vandenburgh said the opportunity to bottle on the North Fork fits their mission for the company: to stay true to its local roots, even while filling this month’s 5,000 crate order.
“We want to make sure every ounce of our beer is made on the North Fork,” he said. “We want to have our hands on every bottle and every keg.”
As the bottles spun around the bottling line, head brewer D.J. Swanson stocked the machine with empty bottles. He recalled joining the company on day one, working as a consultant.
Back then, it was just the three of them. On Wednesday, the room was filled with a dozen workers.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Swanson said. “It’s good to finally see it happen. We’ve come a long way.”