New brewery will come to Pulaski Street

Greg Martin, 39, and Dan Burke, 36, two buddies who worked together at Marran Oil in Holtsville, began brewing beer as a hobby during their down time. They never imagined they’d one day have their own brand of craft beer selling in 120 restaurants across Long Island.
Now they are ready to expand from their Port Jefferson Station base and the Connecticut brewery they’ve been using to make their beer. They plan to open their own brewery, tasting room and retail store on Pulaski Street in Riverhead in January or February. Riverhead’s first, the brewery is taking shape in the 8,800-square-foot former Riverhead Agway building. Construction began in October and will cost about $500,000.
Mr. Martin, of Port Jefferson Station, and Mr. Burke, of Shoreham, own the Long Ireland Beer Company. Their beer, called Long Island Celtic Ale, is brewed in Woodridge, Conn., and their inventory is stored in a warehouse in Port Jefferson Station.
The pair will soon be making their traditional Irish beer in the new Riverhead facility.
“We never got into this to get rich,” said Mr. Martin. “It was something my partner and I did for years together and we enjoyed it. It was something we wanted to pursue on a grander scale.”
He said Riverhead’s tight-knit community and what they consider its promising downtown made it a great location.
“We both felt Riverhead had the old-town feel to it and we felt that Riverhead is about to really take off,” Mr. Martin said. “It’s on the cusp of a huge revitalization.”
Mr. Martin said that because he and Mr, Burke have depended so far on other breweries to make their brand, they’ve been able to produce only a limited volume of Long Island Celtic Ale. Having their own brewery will allow them to produce as much as they want.
“Once we’re in Riverhead, we’ll have full control over our brewing process.”
He and his partner will also brew Breakfast Stouts, pale ales, seasonal beers and specialties. Brewing takes only one day, Mr. Martin said, but the beers must then mature for three to four weeks until they’re ready for drinking.
Most of the beers’ ingredients will come from the Midwest, but Mr. Martin said the number one ingredient will be local: the water will come from the Riverhead Water District.
He said there are no malted barley manufacturers on Long Island, and though hops are being increasingly grown in New York, there is not enough to support a brewery. The barley and hops for the beer will come from Northwestern states, including Washington and Oregon.
Aside from water, there are some other options for local flavors: “We’re both local guys, so we’ll use local ingredients as much as we can,” he said, citing summertime possibilities such as strawberries and honey.
The brewery will sell primarily kegs to restaurants and bars, but anyone can stop into the Riverhead location for a keg or a growler, a half-gallon jug of beer. Mr. Martin declined to disclose his prices just yet.
Although another brewery is expected to open in Riverhead come next summer at Digger O’Dell’s on West Main Street (see story, page 20), Mr. Martin said he isn’t worried. Breweries are tourist spots and more breweries in one place will only attract more customers and tourists, he said.
“People travel out of state to go to breweries,” he said. “There’s this whole segment of society that are beer aficionados.”
He said craft beer has become a mainstream product in recent years as the business has grown.
“The more it is around, the more it will bring people to Riverhead, and that’s a great thing for everyone,” he said.
Rich Thatcher, co-founder of Long Island Beer and Malt Enthusaists, a group of beer and malt appreciators and educators, said the breweries will be a positive tourist draw.
“If you put a couple of breweries in there, that’ll bring people just like the wineries do on the North Fork.”
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