After permitting delays and for small business owners Steve Wirth and Duffy Griffiths, Crooked Ladder Brewing Company is officially starting its
Demolition in the 1,600-square foot space formerly occupied by Crystal Bar began over the weekend, as Wirth - owner of - and Griffiths - owner of in Jamesport and on Route 58 in Riverhead - start to work their way toward a fall opening.
"For two years we've been saying something's going to happen. Something is finally happening," Wirth said on Tuesday.
Wirth added that after demolition is complete, construction should take five to six weeks, and hopes to be brewing in August, with an Octoberfest-style brew ready for the public by the time the season rolls around.
While opening a brewery next door to the Irish pub he's owned for seven years has been a process, the added time has given Wirth the ability to prep Digger's for its new neighbor while the region as a whole continues to see advances in the craft beer arena.
A proposal for a in town hall, while and added capacity to its brewing capacity this past week.
While the recent rise of local breweries might have some wondering how many is too many, neither Wirth nor Long Ireland co-owner Dan Burke think more competition is a bad thing.
"There are lots of wineries out here. Why not breweries?" Wirth asked, pointing to some wineries in the Finger Lakes region which even operate with a brewery on site.
"A rising tide floats all boats," said Burke. "And the more things that attract people to Riverhead is better for everyone. I'm just proud of the fact that we're part of it."
Crooked Ladder beers will be on tap on anywhere from four to six of Digger's taps, depending on the season. Add in other local taps that will remain pouring for customers, such as Long Ireland and Greenport Harbor, and Wirth said he foresees Digger's as a brew pub that craft beer drinkers on the East End can flock to. Though he has no intention of taking Guinness off tap.
"If you provide good drinks and a good time, people will find a way to you."