By Emily Cappiello
It was only a few short years ago where there were slightly less than a handful of breweries on Long Island. And, some of these were marketed as brewpubs, inviting people to come, eat and maybe sample the beer that was made on-premises — but mostly to come and eat.
The landscape of Long Island brewing culture has changed rapidly, as new breweries are opening on a regular basis. From small and select — like Northport’s Sand City Brewing and Farmingdale’s Lithology — to large operations – like Blue Point’s second location in the newly-revitalized town of Patchogue — it’s safe to say that brewing is having a moment on Long Island.
“Long Island market is demanding. The consumer on Long Island is looking for high quality, yet local brews. And due to those demands, there was a void that was filled quickly with great breweries all over the Island,” says Zachary Popp, sales representative at Great South Bay Brewing Company, which is located in Bay Shore, NY.
According to Lee Kaplan, dubbed the “payer of bills” at Lithology Brewing, there are several factors about Long Island that made it the perfect place to grow a craft beer movement. The first, he notes, is that Long Island was devoid of craft breweries for a long time, allowing the movement to generate a buzz that otherwise may have gotten lost in a more saturated market.
The other factors? The melting pot of people and cultures that call Long Island home as well as the growth of information available on craft brewing, from beer blogs to social media.
“The Island is filled with people from all over. We have the best of everything and almost unlimited access to resources, given our proximity to New York City. People are hungry for craft products and people on Long Island aren’t afraid to spend for quality. And, Long Island has a wealth of informed individuals. It was a natural progression for craft brewing to take off on Long Island as it has around the country,” he says.