After spending over a year as a nomadic brewery, making its beer at different local breweries with no tasting room of its own, übergeek Brewing Company is taking over the Moustache Brewing Company tasting room.
“I noticed my production was going up,” Rob Raffa, owner of übergeek, said. He had spent much of the last year brewing his beer at North Fork Brewing Company, whose production was also increasing. “We were not going to be able to fully meet all our demand under one roof so I had to start thinking about branching out.”
Raffa considered contracting out to other breweries, but that would mean he wouldn’t be the one brewing the beer. “I realized I really didn’t want to do that. I wanted everything to be approved by me,” he said. With a growing local following, Raffa felt it was time to open a tasting room of his own, so he approached Matthew and Lauri Spitz of Moustache Brewing Company, where he had worked as their head brewer until 2018 with the idea of taking over their lease.
“Pre-COVID, we were having a little bit of a rough time,” Lauri Spitz said. “COVID really did not help that situation.” They filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last summer, and once Raffa’s offer came in, they felt it was time to change their business model. As of February 28, Moustache Brewing will close their tasting room doors and will contract with other breweries to have their beer made elsewhere.
This doesn’t mean the Moustache label is gone, just that it won’t be made by Matthew and Lauri Spitz, giving them more time to focus on wholesale accounts and distribution. “You’re probably going to see more of our beer now out in the wild, because we’re gonna have more time to put into that side of it,” Lauri Spitz said.
This gives übergeek Brewing Company the opportunity to create a physical space and connect with the people who have been enjoying the beer for the past year. “The unfortunate part about selling wholesale is I just didn’t have that connection to the consumer base,” Raffa said. “Now, that can finally happen and it’s fantastic.”
Raffa doesn’t plan to change the physical space of his tasting room, just make it feel more progressive. He is working with Ricky Saetta, a North Fork based artist who works primarily with wood, to create monthly installations.
“It’s going to have much more of an underground kind of feel,” Raffa said. “It’s against the cookie cutter brewery aspect. We are definitely going to fit into our own little niche out here.”
The almost 6,000 square foot space also means more übergeek beer. And for Matthew and Lauri Spitz, handing off the tasting room they ran for seven years to someone they know and trust feels right. It also means they will have time to concentrate on their own passions they’ve put off. For Matthew Spitz, that’s music and woodworking, and for Lauri Spitz, that’s Reiki healing.
“It wasn’t a decision that came lightly,” she said. “It’s something we’ve been thinking about for a period of time, but it definitely is a decision we’re both very happy with.”