Long Ireland Beer Company, a craft beer operation currently contract brewing with New England Brewing Company in Woodbridge, Conn., and Olde Saratoga Brewery in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., has acquired space and started construction on their first official home―a microbrewery in Polish Town.
The building, located at 817 Pulaski Street and measuring an area of 8,800-square feet, will include a tasting station and storage area, in addition to the main brewing facility, and enable Long Ireland Beer Company to expand and improve their brand―not only in terms of production or distribution, but in better servicing their current and future clientele, as well.
"The brewery will allow us to increase our portfolio of beer," said Greg Martin, who established Long Ireland Beer Company with partner Dan Burke in 2009. "We will be able to add two or three year-round available products, as well as seasonal and specialty beers."
While the added space will allow the duo to increase volume and selection of beers, they'll still be handling the sales and delivery on their own, Burke said. The temptation to sign on with a distribution company is high for any brewer, but their days as oil burner servicemen taught them that first-hand accountability for servicing customers has no match.
"If you don't have customer service, you don't have customers," said Burke, who admitted to having delivered kegs of Long Ireland beer to bars as late as 1 a.m. to satisfy thirsty patrons.
The two considered opening in Brookhaven, but Burke said that "they just weren't very receptive to us." Supervisor Sean Walter recalled the two coming into Town Hall and reviewing a list of locations that might be a good fit for the future Riverhead business owners.
Martin and Burke, who reside in Port Jefferson Station and Shoreham, respectively, met about seven years ago while both working for an oil burning company and began home brewing―first as a hobby, but soon after as a serious passion to create fresh, handcrafted beer containing natural ingredients and prepared with heart.
Now, with the construction of their brewery set for mid-January/early-February of 2011 - they hope to be open before the two-year anniversary of their first keg sale on March 1 - the duo hopes to continue their mission right here in Riverhead. The project is one of two micro-breweries planned for Riverhead, as to open a brew haus adjacent to his restuarant.
"The town is on the brink of a strong revitalization and we like the local community feel," said Martin, who with Burke targeted Riverhead as a potential site for more than three years prior to finalizing the decision. "The more research we did, the more felt that Riverhead was the place for us."
Brewery: Long Ireland Beer Company
Current Home: PO Box 470, Port Jefferson Station
Future Home: 817 Pulaski St., Riverhead
Beers: Breakfast Stout (American Stout), Celtic Ale (Irish Red Ale), Pale Ale (American Pale Ale), Raspberry Wheat (American Pale Wheat Ale.
Equipment: 15-Barrel JVNW Brewhouse, 4-30 Barrel Fermenters, 1-20 Barrel Fermenter, 2 Brite Tanks, 4-Head Bottling Line, Cold Storage Room
Expected Opening: Mid-January/Early-February 2011