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Deal's collapse gives another brewery a chance in Northport Village

Northport location where Cow Harbor Beer Company is

Northport location where Cow Harbor Beer Company is signing a lease. Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

Northport Village will get its first brewery soon.

Cow Harbor Beer Co. plans to sign a 10-year lease this week to take over a Scudder Avenue property originally rezoned for another brewery until the deal collapsed.

Brewmaster Kevin Sihler said the lease at 19 Scudder Ave. takes effect Oct. 1.

"We're really excited to be part of the growing craft beer scene on Long Island," Sihler said.

The property has been unoccupied for more than a year and is owned by Lee Holcomb, who had previously planned to lease it for the opening of Blind Bat Brewery. The deal fell through when the owner and prospective tenant couldn't agree on a key contract issue. Blind Bat owner Paul Dlugokencky said he spent three months and $5,216 rezoning for a brewery. He is suing Holcomb, asking for reimbursement of the zoning costs.

Holcomb didn't return multiple calls for comment.

The disagreement centered on Dlugokencky's desire for right of first refusal to buy the property, should Holcomb ever put it up for sale. While that was part of a nonbinding preliminary agreement between the two, Holcomb has said his attorneys advised him not to sign a lease with that provision. The deal then fell apart.

Dlugokencky said he and Holcomb had recently come close to settling. Holcomb would reimburse Blind Bat for half of the rezoning costs, Dlugokencky said. When Dlugokencky learned a new brewery was moving in, he changed his mind.

"The landlord would not be able to have a brewery as a tenant without the planning and zoning board approvals, which we paid for in entirety," he said, adding that he wishes Cow Harbor the best of luck.

Dlugokencky is considering locations in Huntington Station and the Village of Patchogue.

Cow Harbor will sign a lease without the first right of refusal. The property will require some construction to convert it into the 10-barrel operation Sihler has in mind.

Sihler said he hopes to complete work and begin brewing early next year, with the first batches becoming available next spring.

"We really enjoy hoppy beers, and that's going to be highlighted," Sihler said. "I'm anticipating starting with four solid beers, and then we're going to have rotational and seasonal beers."

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