A former potato farm on Sound Avenue has been proposed as the site of Long Island’s first “farm to pint” brewery, with most ingredients used in the beer-making process to be grown on site.
The project, which has been dubbed Jamesport Farm Brewery and calls for the creation of a brewery and tasting room in an existing 3,200-square-foot barn, is located on 43 acres on the southern side of Sound Avenue, between Manor and Herricks lanes in Jamesport.
Melissa Daniels and Anthony Caggiano, who operate the nursery Plant Connection on the same site, are partnering on the effort with property owner Russell Ireland.
Ms. Daniels and Mr. Caggiano, who also own a company called Long Island Hops, have been growing and selling hops on the site for the past four years. They got the idea for the farm brewery around two years ago and hope to open by summer.
“We were growing hops for the local breweries and then we started growing some barley, and we thought it would be a good way to keep the farm in agriculture,” Mr. Caggiano said.
A brewery that grows its own ingredients is something Mr. Caggiano doesn’t believe currently exists on Long Island.
“We use 70 to 100 percent of our own ingredients,” he said. “The difference would be in added flavoring, such as pumpkin ale or fruit.”
Their signature brew will be called “Hay Baler,” Ms. Daniels added.
Under state agriculture and markets laws, a farm brewery is treated the same as a farm winery, Mr. Caggiano said.
“It’s a growing culture on the North Fork and a way to keep the acreage we have in agriculture. This will help us do that,” he said.
The barn currently features a wide open space with a bar that takes up about half the room. A large, glass door is planned for the entrance and the concrete floor will be finished to give it a nicer look. The partners said they plan to incorporate a lot of wood into the design. Most of the wood they’ve already used in building the bar has come from the barn itself.
In the tasting room, a small wall will separate the fermenters from where the public will gather. The equipment, which will all be stainless steel to mix a modern look into the rustic feel, will be visible to guests. The bar will be finished with a granite top.
The proposal is currently before the Riverhead Town Planning Board, which heard a presentation about it at its March 2 meeting. The board is expected to host a public hearing sometime soon.
In addition to a brewery and tasting room, the project’s application calls for building a 323-square-foot addition to the site’s existing barn in order to create restrooms, along with adding a 200-square-foot storage container and refrigerator unit. A gravel parking area, lighting, drainage and septic improvements are also proposed.
The property is located in the town’s agricultural protection zone, where a farm brewery is an allowed accessory use. The land’s development rights are intact, Mr. Caggiano said.
With Krysten Massa
Top photo: Melissa Daniels and Anthony Caggiano stand at the new bar in the old barn on their Plant Connection property in Jamesport Wednesday morning. The space will soon be turned into a tasting room for the Jamesport Farm Brewery. (Credit: Krysten Massa)