Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. confirmed this week that they will be bottling their own beer by the end of January.
Previously available in kegs and growlers, which have a shelf life of just 48–72 hours, the bottles will now provide their beer with an extended shelf life of 120 days, according to Greenport Harbor co-founder Rich Vandenburgh, who owns and operates the brewery with his college pal and co-founder John Liegey, and their wives Betsy Liegey and Ann Vandenburgh. “It allows us to go to retail opportunities that don’t have draft capacity,” Vandenburgh said, noting that the beer can now also be sold at larger retail outlets such as grocery stores and specialty shops, and in locations beyond Long Island and New York City. “Shipping cases is more logistically feasible than shipping kegs,” he added.
The new format will also work as a marketing tool, as bottles of Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. beer serve as a “billboard” of sorts on store shelves.
While bottling wasn’t a specific milestone they had in mind from the outset, Vandenburgh said it does make sense following the brewery’s fifth birthday in July of 2014. “It strikes us as the appropriate time to introduce the package to the market,” the brewery founder continued. He also pointed out that Greenport Harbor just opened their much larger, new brewhouse in Peconic this past July. Madison Square Garden also just started serving their beer on tap in 2014, which was another exciting step in getting the brand into more hands around the New York Metropolitan area.
The company purchased a GAI bottling machine capable of producing 600–3,000 bottles per hour, and it is now installed at their Peconic location. “Once it gets going, there’s going to be a lot of bottles,” Vandenburgh said, though he admitted they will likely be producing at the lower end of those numbers, for now.
Fans of Greenport Harbor Brewing can expect to see bottles before February, so keep an eye out for them at local bars, restaurants and, eventually, larger retail establishments.
Though the Peconic brewhouse is producing the bulk of Greenport Harbor’s most popular beer, Vandenburgh said their smaller Greenport brewhouse is remaining open as the company’s flagship. They will also continue brewing smaller batch and specialty beers there.
As for the future and what comes next? “We’re really just completely focused on making the best beer we can make,” Vandenburgh said.