Brewhouse BlogIndependent. Brewer Owned. Brewing What We Like to Drink.

Location, Location, Location?

Saturday January 2, 2016

To briefly recap:
Mid-2014 saw our agreement with a landlord in Northport fall apart, by year’s end we found a suitable space in Smithtown. Unfortunately, after beginning demo work on the interior during last winter’s heavy snows, the septic system at the Smithtown location was found to be failing and in danger of collapse. A few months were spent working with our architect and the health department on possible solutions, but none were to be had. That left us in June of 2015 back on the hunt for a new space.

Finding a site for the expanded version of the brewery has continued to be a challenge. Multiple factors must be satisfied to successfully establish a location.

First, the building itself must be suitable for a brewery (strong floors, adequate ceiling height, gas service, sewer preferable to septic, etc.). Also, does the location of the building make sense for the business model?

Second, can a deal be made with the landlord? Not every landlord will even consider a brewery as a tenant, and not every landlord is someone you can make a mutually-satisfactory deal with.

Finally, there are all sorts of government agencies that might have something to say that can prevent the establishment of a brewery at your preferred location. There could be zoning restrictions, the brewery can’t be within 200 feet of a school or house of worship, the health department can kill a deal if the building is not on sewer, etc.

Recent examples of sites that did not work out illustrate how the three main factors must all come together.

In Farmingdale, we identified an excellent location (new construction near the train station) and found a very supportive local government. After extensive negotiations, we were able to come to a satisfactory agreement with the landlord. However, serious structural issues were discovered four months in. Despite repeated assurances that the concrete floor over a basement parking garage was strong enough for the brewery, only when we got a structural engineer to take into account our actual operations was it discovered that we were exceeding the capacity of the floor by 200%.

In Babylon, we found another government happy to have us at a location we found in the north-east corner of the village. In this case, after a number of meetings over the course of a month and being welcomed as a prospective tenant, the landlord changed his mind about having a brewery in his building.

In Kings Park, we found a building and location we were very happy with, and a landlord we had good accord with. The health department, however, killed the deal. There is a formula of property size, designated use, and gallons-per-day flow rate for wastewater when a property is on septic rather than sewer. Our calculations of the brewery operations along with a tasting room were within the allowed rate for the property. However, the county health department insisted on applying a higher flow rate (that of a full bar) to the tasting room. This put us over the allowed gallons per day flow rate for that property. A number of other sites in north-western Suffolk had the same flow-rate issues.

Other sites were deemed impractical (some too expensive, some too small, some were problematic due to town and village restrictions).

So, where are we as of today?

Nothing to be revealed as yet, the hunt continues. We are on the trail of a number of prospects... more to follow when we have news to share...







Yes, We Have Signed a Lease!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Yes, We Have Signed a Lease!
On December 30th, we finally signed a lease for a new space for the brewery. The search took longer than we anticipated, with more obstacles than we had imagined. Speaking with other brewers, we found that pretty much everyone had difficulties securing a location.

We now begin work on transforming a former deli into a brewery with tasting and tap room. While this new space will be larger than our current operation (340 square foot former garage), at 1700 square feet it is still relatively small. We are targeting an opening in the late Spring or early Summer of 2015.

Where?
The new brewery will be at 270 West Main Street in Smithtown, on the south side of the road a little bit east of the bull statue. For about 25 years it was the Brooksite Deli. The brewing equipment will be in the old kitchen area, while the counter area will become the tasting and tap room bar.
Smithtown Map
Meanwhile...
We rolled out our Purgatory Porter to bars, restaurants, and better beer stores in December. A 5.6% ABV roasty robust porter with some coffee and chocolate notes, it is an unsmoked version of our Hellsmoke Porter. Purgatory Porter was brewed from the same recipe except for skipping the step of smoking malted barley over apple and alder wood. (Hellsmoke Porter will be coming back, along with some other smoked beers, in 2015.)

In November, we started selling bottles of our beer at the Riverhead Indoor Farmers' Market on Saturdays from 10 AM to 2 PM. Come on out to see us at 221 East Main Street, and then visit our friends at Long Ireland Beer Co. (817 Pulaski Street), Moustache Brewing Co. (400 Hallet Avenue), and Crooked Ladder Brewing Co. (70 West Main Street). Maximize your trip and get your beer on in Riverhead!

A map of Long Island's breweries can be found at
Long Island Craft Breweries.

Happy New Year, and Cheers to All,

Paul



Knocking Wood with Crossed Fingers

Monday, November 17, 2014

Location, Location, Location...
As most of you may already know, we have been searching for a new location since the space in Northport fell through earlier this year -- centering again on Western Suffolk and Eastern Nassau. We were tempted by spaces further East and West, but a suitable space may have been found in Western Suffolk, on the North Shore. We don't want to jinx anything and say just where until the lease (which is in hand) has been signed. If you happen to know where this is from a conversation with either Regina or me, please keep it under your best hat!

The above-mentioned space will be larger than our current operation, but still relatively small. There will, however, be a tasting and tap room. IF all goes well, we should be open by the Spring of 2015.

Meanwhile...
Over the last few months, we've had productive talks with Renaissance Downtowns, the company working with the Town of Huntington on revitalizing Huntington Station. We were not able to identify an existing building for a brewery, but a space in Huntington Station is still possible in about two years. This would entail new construction on New York Avenue, a short walk north of the LIRR Station.

The space mentioned in the first paragraph is not in Huntington Station. Hopefully we'll be able to report on a signed lease soon, and the exact location will then be publicized. That location will likely continue even if we establish a larger brewery in Huntington Station.

Farmers’ Markets
The regular Farmers' Market season is soon drawing to a close. This coming Saturday (November 22nd) will be the last market day in Northport, and Sunday the 23rd will be the last market day in Babylon. Each market runs 8 AM to 1 PM.

We have started selling bottles of our beer at the Riverhead Indoor Farmers' Market on Saturdays from 10 AM to 2 PM. Come on out to see us at 221 East Main Street, and then visit our friends at Long Ireland Beer Co. (817 Pulaski Street), Moustache Brewing Co. (400 Hallet Avenue), and Crooked Ladder Brewing Co. (70 West Main Street). Get your beer on in Riverhead!

A map of Long Island's breweries can be found at
Long Island Craft Breweries. We look forward to adding our pin to that map soon!

Unfortunate News on Northport

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Unfortunate news regarding the space we were working on in Northport: The landlord has changed terms that we previously negotiated and agreed to prior to my spending time and money pursuing approvals from the Village of Northport Planning and Zoning Boards.

We were willing to work with the landlord on all but one key previously-agreed to lease term: Right of First Refusal should his building become available for sale.

Having learned of another brewery that gained a new landlord who plans on not renewing their lease, we sought Right of First Refusal as a bit of protection.

Right of First Refusal does not mean that we would control terms of the landlord's sale of his building. It simply means that if he received an offer, we would have the opportunity to match that offer. If we did not match the offer, the sale of the property would go to the other party.

After we received approvals from the Village, we began working on lining up new equipment to fill the floor plan I created for the site. We were very much looking forward to creating an interesting space for visitors, working within the restrictions imposed by the Village.

We have been spending the last couple of weeks trying to negotiate with the landlord, without any success in getting even a modified version of Right of First Refusal.

We have begun looking at alternate locations, centering again on Western Suffolk and Eastern Nassau --- but are also looking at points further East and West.

I will share any news when I have it.

Where Is Blind Bat?

Friday, June 6, 2014

While we were approved by the Village of Northport Zoning Board on April 23rd (with some restrictive conditions), lease negotiations have taken a longer-than expected circuitous route.

Nothing regarding Northport is certain at this point. So, we are aggressively exploring other locations should what we have been working on in Northport since January fail to come to fruition.

Meanwhile, I’m producing as much beer as I can in the Centerport nano-brewery. Farmers’ Market Season has now started: Regina was at the Crossroads Farm Farmers’ Market in Malverne on Thursday, and I’ll be at the opening day at the Northport Farmers’ Market on Saturday the 7th. I’ll also be at the Babylon Farmers’ Market on Sunday the 8th.

Either Regina or I will be at the Northport Farmers’ Market every Saturday through November. One of us will be at Malverne and Babylon, but not every week. We’ll also start every other week at the Islip Farmers’ Market this year. Once we are finally up and running on a bigger scale, we’ll be able to be at the markets every week.

To see what we’ll be bringing to which market, and when, please check the
“Where to Find” page on BlindBatBrewery.com

And Now We Wait...

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Two Wednesdays ago, on March 26th, we appeared before the Northport Village Zoning Board to present our plans for the full-time version of the brewery. A number of Northport residents stood and spoke in support, which was wonderful. The two folks who stood to express concerns seemed to have those concerns addressed during the meeting. We felt the meeting went well, but a decision was not made that evening.

As reported in the Times of Northport, at their next meeting (on April 23rd) the Northport Village Zoning Board of Appeals will be voting on a decision to allow, or not allow, Blind Bat Brewery to locate in the Village at 19 Scudder Avenue with a tasting room / retail space with an entrance down an alley at 60 Main Street. The Main Street side of the building currently holds an indoor Winter Farmers’ Market.
Pasted Graphic

We felt the meeting on March 26th went well, but only time will tell... so we anxiously wait for the decision...

New Brewery Location

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I haven’t blogged at all since August of last year, otherwise I’d have written a long and winding tale of various locations for the new expanded brewery that did not work out. We kept trying to land the brewery in Farmingdale, but also worked on potential locations in Hicksville. It was a bit of a roller coaster at times.

We finally have a good landlord and a new place to soon call home should all go well with the planning and zoning boards of the
Village of Northport. The production portion of the brewery will be on Scudder Avenue. The entrance to the tasting room and retail space of the brewery will be on Main Street, down the alley on the west side of the Chase bank (near the old street clock).

MainStreetToday


The process of finding a location for the full-time brewery has taken much longer than we anticipated, over a year and-a-half at this point. We’ve been hearing from other brewers that their location searches took about the same amount of time. So, prospective brewers, keep that in mind!

We will be appearing before the Village of Northport Planning Board on Tuesday, March 25th and before the Village of Northport Zoning Board on Wednesday, March 26th. If all goes well, we can start the process of building a 7 BBL brewery with tasting room on May 1st.

Wish us luck! Even better, if you are a Northport resident, come on down to the Zoning Board meeting to voice some support!

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