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Northport grants reopening of Sand City Brewery tasting room

The Northport Zoning Board of Appeals this month

The Northport Zoning Board of Appeals this month granted permission for the reopening of the Sand City Brewery's tasting room. Credit: Ed Betz

The long-shuttered tasting room at popular microbrewery Sand City Brewery has reopened with the blessing of Northport village officials.

The Main Street brewery’s tasting room, where customers could buy small samples of the brewery’s wares, was originally closed for renovations to a walkway in September.

After a compliance hearing in December, the Northport Zoning Board of Appeals denied the brewery permission to reopen the room after some neighbors complained of excessive noise, crowd control and drunken patrons.

Dozens of supporters thronged another compliance hearing in March at Village Hall to tout the brewery’s contributions to Northport.

In a decision issued on Wednesday, the zoning board of appeals voted unanimously in favor of permitting Sand City’s tasting room to reopen.

“We’re obviously thrilled to be back open and we’ve been working with the village in every capacity, and they’ve been working with us to help us get open. We’re very happy right now,” said brewery co-owner Kevin Sihler. He added, “We’re working with the village hand in hand to make sure that any issues that we’ve had in the past are being resolved.”

The brewery’s principals have acknowledged that the unexpected success of their beers, including their New England-style IPAs and special collaborations with other microbreweries, had caught them off guard since they first opened in 2015.

Aside from the tasting room samples, Sand City sells its beer in small quantities at the brewery’s back entrance off Scudder Avenue. Because a limited number of cans are released for each variant, fans line up outside the brewery for the chance to buy the beer on release days, which are announced on Sand City’s Facebook page.

These beer fans have at times become rowdy. Northport police in 2017 issued four violations to the brewery, including one for patrons drinking alcohol while waiting in line to buy beer, and one for occupancy issues in the tasting room. The village administrator also said at the December compliance hearing that he gets an average of two complaints a month from neighbors about the beer line patrons.

The brewery owners must return for another compliance hearing Oct. 17.

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