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.
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.
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.
We felt the meeting on March 26th went well, but only time will tell... so we anxiously wait for the decision...
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).
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!
While the Hellsmoke Porter has been receiving decent reviews on RateBeer and BeerAdvocate, the two cows at the old Lewis-Oliver Dairy in Northport haven't been taking at all to the last batch of spent grains from the Wheatley Hills Weizenbock. So, at least for the mix of spent wheat and barley, it's off to the compost.
Was too wintery to brew the next batch of Hellsmoke Porter this weekend (not just for me, but more importantly, for the equipment as the brewery currently needs to be set up). Please check back for news on that.
Took a day off from the regular job to brew more Weizenbock, but it turned out to be a bit longer of a day (into night) than expected. So, we missed getting to last night's Friends of the Farm meeting in nearby Northport. I will be getting more spent grains to the cows later this week, though, "leftovers" from yesterday's brew session.
I've had some good feedback on the Hellsmoke Porter, and will be smoking and brewing up more soon. If you have had some, and haven't yet shared what you thought of it, please do -- either via the "Be the Judge" form on BlindBatBrewery.com, or on Beer Advocate or RateBeer (or all three). I truly appreciate honest criticism. (And thanks to those who have given feedback.)
Meanwhile, back in the Fermentation Room, the yeast is happily eating the sugars, creating alcohol and carbon dioxide to make the wort into Wheatley Hills Weizenbock.
I finally got the spent grains to the cows in nearby Northport (no one was a the old dairy when I went on Sunday). If you have kids and happen to be near Northport, some free family fun can be had at the old Lewis Oliver Farm in Northport. They've got two cows ("Sassy" and "Half-Pint"), as well as some chickens, ducks, geese, and a pig. For more information check out the Friends of the Farm blog at http://friendsofthefarm.wordpress.com/
The farm happens to be looking for volunteers. If you are free, they are having a meeting at the farm at 7:30 this coming Monday night (January 5, 2009).
Meanwhile, back at the nanobrewery.... I'm cleaning kegs to carbonate and condition the Hellsmoke Porter. Bottling to follow shortly. I'll be sending out word of where these bottles will be available soon. I would have taken care of all this over the last weekend, but there was a delay due to the greenhouse effect. Not the global greenhouse effect, but the preparations I'm undertaking for the greenhouse we're about to build in our back yard. Leveling out the area and preparing the foundation took up the weekend. So, I'm playing hooky from the day job today (after a late night of watching election returns), and playing a bit of catchup.