Brooklyn Brewery Expansion?

The New York Times has an interesting article on the difficulties Brooklyn Brewery has had in its planned expansion in Brooklyn. The brewery has played no small part in the revitalization of the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn since locating there twelve years ago. The improved economic conditions of the surrounding neighborhood and in Brooklyn in general have been a mixed blessing, however, as brewery co-owner Steve Hindy has repeatedly been rebuffed in efforts to expand:

He and his partners are willing to spend $15 million for a bigger brewery that would employ at least twice as many workers as he has now and would have a beer garden where customers could sample his growing roster of specialty brews. But after four years of searching and two failed bids to be included in redevelopment projects in Red Hook and Carroll Gardens, they have not found a suitable building in the borough at a feasible price.

“We are the Brooklyn Brewery, and we want to be in Brooklyn,” said Mr. Hindy, who often bicycles to work from his home in Park Slope. “If we can’t find a place, then who can? We’re about as perfect an example of light manufacturing as you can get.”

The other side of the coin, at least in our eyes, is that the bulk of Brooklyn’s beer is currently contract brewed at F.X. Matt in lovely, scenic Utica, New York. According to our fuzzy math, Brooklyn brewery currently sells somewhere north of 90,000 barrels of beer per year, 12,000 of which are produced in Brooklyn. Given the proper facility expansion, the locally brewed portion of that could increase to 40,000 barrels. Plus, they want to add a beer garden. We say get this done already! Matt Brewing can concentrate more resources on getting the excellent Lake Placid beers to the masses and Brooklynites get more local beer and a great place to enjoy it. Everybody wins. Let’s do this thing!

Click here for some great pics of F.X. Matt.

~ by bojangles on July 20, 2008.

4 Responses to “Brooklyn Brewery Expansion?”

  1. Wow, I had no idea they contract-brewed that much of their beer elsewhere. If they were to invest $15M, why wouldn’t they want to move more of the production in-house?

  2. I’m confused by what the borough itself is waiting for. If it’s a boon to the economy of the area, why wouldn’t they want to expand? I would love to see it spill over to more jobs in CNY, of course, but it seems that the area would want to help grow one of the few profitable industries in the country these days.

  3. Jonathan: My guess (and it is strictly a guess) is that it’s cheaper to have your beer capably brewed at a place like Matt’s under contract than it would be to greatly expand your facilities in one of the most expensive areas of the country. They want enough of a presence in Brooklyn to put on a good showing on their tour, have a nice little beer garden, and control a respectable amount of their own production. Kinda like Sam Adams or Harpoon in Boston do. Hope Atlanta offers brewing space cheaper than some of the big cities in the northeast do!

  4. Billy: I think it’s just SOP for NYC. Brooklyn Brewery is a fairly small player with fairly shallow pockets. What’s a $15M investment and a couple dozen jobs to a place accustomed to projects worth hundreds of millions or billions of dollars? It sure seems like they should be able to find a perfect spot for BB though.

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