A proposal to build what’s believed to be the area’s first “farm to pint” brewery was granted final approval by the Riverhead Town Planning Board last Thursday.
“It seems like you’re going to get approval in record time,” Planning Board chairman Stan Carey told Melissa Daniels — co-applicant with Anthony Caggiago — before the unanimous vote.
They plan to convert a 3,200-square-foot potato barn into a brewery and tasting room called Jamesport Farm Brewery.
The brewery will be located on the same 43-acre Sound Avenue property as Plant Connection, a nursery they also run.
Ms. Daniels and Mr. Caggiano have been growing hops on that property as well and them to other local beer makers.
The farm brewery project received overwhelming support from speakers at an April 6 public hearing before the Planning Board.
“This is the first time we’re going to have a brewer that actually grows hops,” Andy Calimano of Babylon, a member of the New York State Brewers Association, the New York City Brewers’ Guild and the Long Island Brewers’ Guild, said at that hearing. “We have hop farms on Long Island, but they don’t make beer.”
Before the vote, Town planning aide Greg Bergman asked Ms. Daniels how many taps the tasting room would have.
“We will have 12 taps,” she replied. “Our selections will have six to eight anchor beers and seasonal beers that rotate in and out.”
Mr. Bergman said he asked the question because similar uses in town have generated controversy.
“What we don’t want to see is 20 taps and pitchers of Coors Light,” he said.
The sale of the beer is subject to town farm stand review laws, which restrict the amount of non-locally-produced items that can be sold.
“A lot of the reason for us having the brewery is to have another outlet for our other farm products, like our pumpkins and flowers,” Ms. Daniels said. “Everything about this whole idea is to support the farm.”
In an interview in March, Mr. Caggiano said they use between 70 and 100 percent of their own ingredients.
“The difference would be in added flavoring such as pumpkin ale or fruit,” he said.