In 1998, two local friends, Mark Buford and Pete Cotter, decided to turn their passion for home brewing into a business. According to Pete Cotter,” we saw an opportunity for a microbrewery to meet the demand in the market between Montauk and Manhattan”.
And so the iconic Long Island Blue Point Brewing Company was born.
Determined to give New Yorkers a beer they could be proud of, the first brew the friends produced in their new venture was Blue Point Toasted Lager. This New York original, named for the direct-fire brick kettle used to toast six specialty malts for a rich and unique flavor, won a gold medal at the 2006 World Beer Cup in the American-Style Amber Lager category. It is now the company’s flagship beer and you can enjoy it in style while taking in the skyline of the city that inspired it in the High Bar rooftop lounge.
The founder’s philosophy of only brewing beers they would want to drink paid off, and soon the brewery had expanded distribution well beyond the original Montauk to Manhattan boundaries and was being drunk and enjoyed in 15 states.
The brewery itself, located in the coastal town of Patchogue, New York quickly became an attraction in its own right.
A tasting room’ which is open to the public on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays and the annual Cask Ale Festival, concerts and other events in the brew yard.
So it was with mixed feelings that New Yorkers greeted the 2014 announcement that Blue Point Brewery was being sold to Anheuser-Busch InBev for nearly $24 million. While we were proud of the local boys made good, some of us also worried that this was the end of a dream. Would our wonderful local brewery be sucked into a faceless corporation and lose its soul?
Happily, for beer lovers the world over, these fears proved groundless and the takeover developed into a true partnership, giving our local boys the security and expertise on the business side to concentrate on what they do best, brewing beer.
Now Blue Point beer can be enjoyed in all 50 states and even overseas. In fact, demand has grown so much that it was necessary to relocate to a (much) bigger premises. But even then, the company stayed true to their roots and remained in Patchogue, moving only a few blocks to the former Briarcliffe College campus along the village’s Main Street.
After extensive repurposing, which included removing roughly 75 percent of the former college’s second floor to make way for brewing machinery, the new brewery finally started production in May this year.
Currently still closed to the public, when it is finally complete the $35 million, 53,000-square-foot facility will replace Blue Point’s existing headquarters and operations on River Avenue and will feature an outdoor beer garden and green space, restaurant, tasting room, gift shop and tours of the brewing operations.
Until then, beer lovers can still soak up the Blue Point experience at the original brewery on River Avenue. And with the new brewery increasing production capacity between 400 and 600 percent, we can only wait in anticipation to see what magical brews will come out of its vats!