North Fork Brewery received approval Monday from the Riverhead Industrial Development Agency to operate a tasting space in the west side of the former firehouse on East Second Street. There, it will join Long Beard Brewing Company, which already occupies the building’s east side.
The 13,000-square-foot firehouse building, owned by Suffolk Theater owner Bob Castaldi, was granted IDA benefits for a $986,000 renovation in 2015, when Long Beard sought to move there.
The IDA is required to approve any prospective tenant there in order for Mr. Castaldi to retain the incentives already granted, according to executive director Tracy Stark.
Those incentives include an exemption from sales tax on building materials used in the renovation, an exemption from county mortgage recording taxes and a partial abatement of school, town, county and fire district property taxes. The percentage of the abatement decreases over a 10-year period.
North Fork Brewery has leased about 4,200 square feet in the building for three years, according to Peter Barraud of Calverton, who co-owns the business with Ian Van Bourgondien of Southold.
Under state law, IDA incentives cannot be given to a building that has more than 33 percent retail, according to IDA attorney Richard Ehlers.
Mr. Barraud told the IDA their space would be 30 percent retail, in the form of a tasting room, and 70 percent production. The 33 percent limit applies to the entire building, Mr. Ehlers said.
“We’re trying to keep the sales within the firehouse, even though we have a license for distribution to bars and restaurants,” Mr. Barraud said. “We are looking for it to be more of a destination, and we were lucky enough to find the firehouse, which is historic. It’s been sitting vacant for quite a long time, so we’re hoping to get life back in that area of Second Street.”
Mr. Barraud and Mr. Van Bourgondien have given up their careers as a teacher and a biologist, respectively, to pursue their brewery dream.
They also have a one acre hops farm in Peconic and use those hops to make their beer.
“We plan to use a lot of local ingredients,” Mr. Barraud said.
They don’t see the other breweries already operating in or proposed for Riverhead as obstacles to their success.
“It’s a healthy competition,” said Mr. Barraud, who had recently worked for Moustache Brewing Company in Riverhead. “The goal is to have Riverhead become one of the craft beer centers of the area. We want to stop seeing people drive through Riverhead to go to wineries in Southold Town.”
“A high tide floats all boats,” Mr. Van Bourgondien added.
“We are excited to have your investment and your passion,” said IDA board member Lori Ann Pipczynski. “This is exactly what I think the town and this board envisioned.”
Photo caption: North Fork Brewery, led by Ian Van Bourgondien of Southold, left, and Peter Barraud of Calverton, received IDA tax incentives for their planned brewery at the former Riverhead firehouse on Second Street Monday. (Credit: Tim Gannon)