When Frank Purita, owner of Bière Bar and Restaurant and D’Latte on Main Street in Greenport, bought the long-abandoned two-story former boarding house behind those businesses last fall, he began looking for a tenant.
He didn’t have to look far to find one: his daughter Gabriella Purita.
“Gabriella has this idea to continue the work she’s been doing with New York State,” Mr. Purita said. “It felt like a natural fit.”
Gabriella Purita runs the Taste NY Grand Central store in Manhattan, which highlights locally produced wines, craft beers and other products, and was interested in doing something similar in Greenport.
Taste NY is more of a retail store, but her new venture, to be called Greenport Distilling, will operate more as a tasting room, Ms. Purita said. The building is on Carpenter Street, across from a shipyard.
“I’ve been planning to get a distillery up and going for quite a while and this seems like a great way to bring light back to a really dark corner of Greenport,” Ms. Purita said. “After you go [south] of Greenport Harbor Brewing and the Jail and Police Museum, it’s really a dead zone, so it will be great to bring some life back to that area.”
The project received site plan approval from the village Planning Board last Thursday for a tasting room and a one-unit apartment on the second floor.
“We will have a still on premises and will do little test batches, but it will mostly be for educational purposes, so people can understand how much work goes into making distilled spirits,” she said. “Most of the actual distilling will be done off -premises, at my mother’s winery.”
Her mother, Claudia Purita, owns One Woman Wines and Vineyards in Southold, and has made distilled spirits in the past, working with Long Island Spirits in Baiting Hollow, Ms. Purita said.
“We’re going to be focusing very heavily on ingredients from Long Island,” she said. “I’m already looking to do a bourbon out of Long Island’s delicious sweet corn and the grappa will be made from our own grapes from our vineyards, and the same with the brandy.”
Greenport Distilling will feature wines and spirits from One Woman Wines, but it will also feature other locally made wines, beers and spirits, Ms. Purita said.
“I’m a North Fork girl at heart and I’m going to represent the whole North Fork as well as I can,” she said.
She hopes to have Greenport Distilling up and running by December, but said the building will need a lot of work.
“We’ve had the restaurant in front of it for very long time and I never remember anyone being in that building,” she said.