Blue Point Brewing Co., the Long Island-based brewer of Toasted Lager, Hoptical Illusion and RastafaRye Ale, plans to open the doors of its new brewery to the public in April, when it will unveil its tasting room, restaurant and fresh oyster bar.
The Patchogue company, which had been located on River Avenue for 20 years, has nearly completed construction on its new brewery and headquarters on the site of the former Briarcliffe College in downtown Patchogue. Blue Point began producing beer at the West Main Street location last spring, but has yet to unveil its tasting room and restaurant, which are slated to open April 17.
“Everyone’s here, all production is here,” said Jenna Lally, president of Anheuser-Busch InBev-owned Blue Point. “Our tasting room, which we closed at the end of the year, is sort of on hiatus until April when we open.”
The new 54,000-square-foot brewery, a project that has cost a “little bit under” $40 million to build, Lally said, has dramatically increased the local company’s brewing capabilities while still leaving room for further expansion.
“We’re six times the size in terms of capacity right now, with the ability to grow to 12 times,” she said. “The great part is that we can package way more beer than we can brew. It’s just a question of when we expand.”
The beer maker removed roughly 75 percent of the former college’s second floor to make room for grain milling, rows of towering fermentation tanks, and its canning and bottling packaging system
“At the old brewhouse we might be able to do three brews in a day, where we can do eight or nine at this brewery,” said Mike Stoneburg, Blue Point's brewmaster. “It’s allowed us to increase our volumes quite a bit.”
Over the last few years the brewer has increased employment dramatically.
In 2014, the year AB InBev acquired Blue Point for a reported $24 million, the company had 25 employees. Two years later, the brewer grew to around 37 workers. Since moving to the new facility, it has increased its staff to 100 employees, and it plans to hire 20 to 30 more workers before the opening. Blue Point is still looking for brewers, cooks, waiters and bartenders.
Plans call for an outside green space and beer garden, a tasting room with 30 taps, a restaurant serving beer-infused eats, a fresh-oyster bar, an interior music stage and a gift shop area. From the restaurant and taproom areas, guests will be able to look into the main production area as well as at Patchogue Lake.
Founded in 1998 by Mark Burford and Peter Cotter, Blue Point became the biggest craft beer maker on Long Island before being acquired by AB InBev, joining the multinational company’s growing catalog of craft beer makers.
Since that time, Blue Point has boosted beer production, changed its logo, increased marketing efforts and increased distribution from 15 states to all 50, as well as international markets.
“I’m really happy with the finished design that became of the space,” said Burford. “It’s been a long project, but we’re getting close. We’re eight weeks out from rocking and rolling here. It’s pretty exciting.”