The owners of a fledgling brewery that’s proposed for the former Second Street firehouse are seeking tax exemptions from the Riverhead Town Industrial Development Agency to help them get started.
“Any little help we can get is important to us,” said Paul Carlin, the co-owner of Long Beard Brewing Company. “We chose Riverhead because we feel it something that’s coming back.”
Long Beard will be the fourth brick-and-mortar brewery in Riverhead, along with Long Ireland, Crooked Ladder and Moustache. Twin Forks is based out of Riverhead, though brews their products through another brewery.
“It’s becoming Milwaukee,” IDA member Lou Kalogeras said.
Bob Castaldi, who recently bought the former firehouse from Riverhead Town, said the brewery is one of about four or five tenants he eventually hopes to have at the firehouse.
“We want to try and attract tenants,” Mr. Castaldi told the IDA at its meeting Monday, where Long Beard, which has signed an agreement to lease part of the firehouse, made a presentation. “We’re hoping this will lighten up the whole area. I think these fellas will bring in a lot of tourism.”
Mr. Carlin and co-owner Craig Waltz said the firehouse is ideal for a brewery because of its tall ceilings.
“I couldn’t think of a better place than this for a brewery,” Mr. Carlin said.
“Besides having fire trucks in there, this building was meant to be a brewery,” Mr. Waltz said.
Long Beard is not currently producing beer anywhere commercially.
“We’re a fledgling company,” Mr. Carlin said. “We’re just getting off the ground. This is one of the steps we need to get our licensing. We have to have a location, we have to have lease agreements.”
The licensing procedure includes both federal and state licenses, he said.
They plan to have storage and processing on site, as well as a tasting room.
“We want to be open and producing by St. Patricks Day of this coming year and we think that’s what the licensing process will take — about nine months,” Mr. Carlin said.
The firehouse, which was originally built in the 1930s and expanded in later years, has about 9,000 square feet on the first floor and 4,000 square feet on the second floor, said Mr. Castaldi, who also owns the Suffolk Theater in downtown Riverhead, which also receives IDA tax incentives.
The IDA informally agreed to hold a public hearing on Long Beard’s request for assistance on Aug 3, at 5 p.m. in Town Hall, although they have yet to submit a complete application, officials said.
“I need more information,” IDA executive director Tracy Stark-James told Mr. Castaldi.
Mr. Castaldi said they’d been seeking IDA tax incentives for the project, although he didn’t give specific numbers.
The IDA’s standard tax incentives include exemptions on sales tax on building material used in the construction, mortgage recording tax exemptions, and exemptions on a portion of the property tax generated by the improvements made to the project, starting at a 50 percent exemption, and then adding five percent back on per year over 10 years, at which point it pays full tax.
“We’re going to be doing a historically correct restoration which we’ve already started on the outside of the (firehouse) building,” Mr. Castaldi said. “It needs a tremendous amount of work.”
He feels the overall project will create jobs and foot traffic in the area.
“It’s a win-win,” he said.