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...

Smithtown Septic Woes

Wednesday July 15, 2015

Well, a hell of a lot has been going on since my last blog post way back in early March.

Things were looking good with the space we leased (270 West Main Street, Smithtown) until we discovered some serious septic structural issues. Long story short, after months of trying to resolve this with the landlord, the county health department, and our resourceful architect, we had to terminate our lease there this week and move on. There ultimately was no solution which would allowed us to brew there as planned, and we could not even have a tasting room serving up our beer there.

We have some good leads on alternate spaces, news of that to follow as soon as we have it.

What's on Tap Where Roundup

Wednesday March 4, 2015

Now that the permit’s in place, demo begins in earnest in Smithtown! While the brewery is in transition to Smithtown, I’m still getting some beer out and about.

Following is what is on tap and where:

Purgatory Porter
(5.6% Robust Porter)

Hell Gate
(8.5% ABV Belgian-Inspired Golden Ale)

Slow Motion in Smithtown, Label Approvals

Monday, February 23, 2015

Slow Motion in Smithtown
Not much to report on progress thus far in Smithtown: Permits are pending and plans are drawn. Work will begin in earnest soon.
Coming Soon-ish Sign on Door


Future beers are in planning -- new recipes are being formulated and the necessary Federal label approval is being obtained. Following are some of the labels approved the last couple of days. Note that they still have “Centerport” rather than “Smithtown” -- this is because our license is still in Centerport. These will be altered once we have our Federal approval on the Smithtown location.

Commack Common

Hickory & Maple Smoked Brown Ale

Dark Eyes Russian Imperial Stout

Four Eyes Quadrupel

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.

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
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,


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