North Fork Brewing Co. applies to set up microbrewery in Riverhead

North Fork Brewing Company is seeking a special permit to establish a microbrewery at the former firehouse on Second Street in Riverhead.

Co-owners and cousins Peter Barraud 31, and Ian Van Bourgondien, 27, said they’re most excited about opening a family business.

“We started talking and knowing that a family business can work,” Mr. Barraud said Thursday. “That’s why we’re doing it.”

It’s a topic of discussion at any family function they’re at, Mr. Barraud added.

The company’s proposal includes a tasting room and retail space, where the two envision friends and family visiting. Both come from agricultural backgrounds and their business currently grows hops at a farm in Peconic. Mr. Van Bourgondien said he’ll use his background in chemistry to test the quality of their products.

Growing up and working on the North Fork, both said they’ve noted what types of businesses can last.

The co-owners are looking to open by February pending permit approvals. The hope is that they’d be open by the spring for a test run before the busy summer season, Mr. Barraud said.

The business would join half a dozen breweries of different sizes in Riverhead Town, including Long Beard Brewing Company, which is also working to open in a space at the old firehouse.

The Riverhead Town Board on Thursday moved to schedule a public hearing on the special permit application at an upcoming meeting.

Town Board approval of the special permit depends on a covenant to limit business hours to end at 9 p.m., restrict outdoor music and fencing to hide dumpsters.

Bob Castaldi owns the Second Street firehouse as well as the nearby Suffolk Theater. In 2008, the fire department moved to a larger new building on Roanoke Avenue and the Second Street firehouse was given to Riverhead Town in exchange for the Route 58 property the fire department used for its annual competitions, according to prior reports. The town later sold it to Mr. Castaldi.

Photo caption: North Fork Brewing Company co-owners Peter Barraud, left, and Ian Van Bourgondien at the site of their proposed microbrewery in Riverhead. (Credit: Kelly Zegers)

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