BROOKLYN, NY – New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg will cut the ribbon to inaugurate the local expansion of The Brooklyn Brewery on Monday, Feb 14, at 10am.
The mayor will join brewery President Steve Hindy, Brewmaster Garrett Oliver and partners Robin and Eric Ottaway at the 79 North 11th St brewery in the Williamsburg neighborhood. Also attending will be Borough President Marty Markowitz, Assemblyman Joe Lentol, state Senator Daniel Squadron and Peter Davidson of the Empire State Development Corp.
The $8 million expansion will increase the capacity of the Brooklyn brewery from 12,000 barrels a year (1 barrel = 14 cases of beer) to 120,000 barrels. Last year, the brewery sold 108,000 barrels of beer, most of it produced under contract at the Matt Brewery in Utica, NY.
“The expansion of our Brooklyn brewery means that most of our growth in the next three years will be in Brooklyn,” said Hindy. “We expect to double our sales in the next three years.”
The brewery grew by 20% in 2010 in spite of capacity limitations.
The Empire State Development Corp. gave the brewery an $800,000 grant for the project from the Downstate Revitalization Fund, which is aimed at spurring development and job creation in New York.
The Brooklyn Brewery was started in 1988 by Hindy, a former Middle East correspondent for The Associated Press, and his Brooklyn neighbor, Tom Potter, a former banker. Potter retired from the business in 2004, and he now is starting a distillery in Brooklyn, the New York Distilling Co.
Craft brewers like Brooklyn Brewery are growing rapidly at a time when overall beer consumption in the United States is falling. In 2009, beer consumption declined by 2.5% and in 2010 by 2%. Craft beer grew by 10% in both of those years. The Brooklyn Brewery grew by 20% in those years.
The Brooklyn Brewery searched unsuccessfully for more space to expand its Brooklyn operations over the past five years.
“It wasn’t until the economy tanked that we were able to negotiate a lease that we could live with,” said Hindy. In the end, the brewery acquired space directly adjacent to the brewing facility they opened in 1996.
The expansion also will allow for tours and special events on weekdays. Previously, the only public hours were Friday 6-11pm, Saturdays noon-8pm and Sundays noon-6pm.