The long-bearded men behind Long Beard Brewing Company have moved one step closer toward their dream of opening a brewery in downtown Riverhead.
The Riverhead Town Industrial Development Agency awarded the company about in tax exemptions Monday night, a process that started last month to help establish the business at the former Second Street firehouse.
“It’s great,” Long Beard co-owner Paul Carlin said about the IDA’s unanimous decision. “We need it to get this business going.”
Long Beard Brewing Company estimates it will cost $986,000 to renovate the firehouse, as well as the necessary equipment to brew beer.
“There’s still a lot we need to purchase to get off the ground,” Mr. Carlin added.
Long Beard Brewing Company’s landlord, Bob Castaldi, plans to lease about 4,000-square feet of the building to brewery and the remaining 9,000-square feet to other businesses. Mr. Castaldi also owns the Suffolk Theater, a project that had also benefited from IDA tax breaks.
“The [firehouse] building is a mess,” he said. “It’s been let go and there’s a tremendous amount of work left on it.”
Mr. Carlin owns Long Beard with his friend Craig Waltz. The two have been eying Riverhead as an ideal destination for their fledgling company because they see it as becoming a serious craft-beer town.
Long Beard will be the fourth brick-and-mortar brewery in Riverhead, joining Long Ireland, Crooked Ladder and Moustache.
Mr. Carlin and Mr. Waltz said they believe such a saturation of breweries is good for business since it will draw visitors who want to visit multiple breweries in one tour.
“We wouldn’t benefit from another brewery in town failing,” Mr. Carlin said. “We’re not in competition to destroy anybody. We want more to succeed.”
After renovations, Long Beard is expected to brew and bottle a variety of craft beers on site, as well as open a Viking-themed tasting room.
Mr. Carlin and Mr. Waltz said they hope to open for St. Patrick’s Day next year.
Photo caption: Long Beard owners Paul Carlin, left, and Craig Waltz at Monday’s IDA meeting. (Credit: Chris Lisinski)