Can you believe 2017 was Montauk Brewing Company’s (MBC) 5th anniversary!? “It’s funny,” Vaughn Cutillo, one of three co-founders says, “I think about that a lot. We’ve accomplished so much since putting the plan together for MBC. It’s gone by super fast.” We spoke to Cutillo and Eric Moss, another co-founder and brewmaster at MBC, to discuss the past, present and future of this Dan’s Best of the Best Platinum brewery.
Were the three founders all friends before leaving Long Island for university?
Vaughn Cutillo: We all grew up on the East End. I’m born and raised in Montauk, Eric Moss is from Wainscott and Joe Sullivan is from East Hampton. We all grew up together and graduated from East Hampton High School. The three of us were also ocean lifeguards in Montauk for East Hampton Town. That was the most fun I’ve had at a job—until starting a brewery!
How did you turn MBC from a basement brewing operation into what it is today?
VC: We started brewing as a hobby. We’d brew five or 10 gallons in my basement and invite friends over for summer barbeques. We put a sticker on a Kegerator that said “Montauk Brewing Company.” In 2010 we built the business plan and on June 30, 2012 we opened our doors to the taproom. The first beer we dialed in at the home brew level, and eventually launched the company with, was an English Style Pale Ale, Driftwood Ale. Since then we’ve added Wave Chaser IPA and a Session IPA. Those three are our signature, year-round beers. Our summer seasonals, Montauk Summer Ale and Montauk Watermelon Session, came later. Those two are absolute monsters for distribution. We’ve been lucky that our fans are so supportive, and this year our production will put us in the top 100-brewery list by production and sales volume. (There are 6,000 breweries in the U.S.)
Do you have a favorite Montauk beer?
EM: Mine is Wave Chaser IPA, the purple can. It has great citrus and grapefruit notes. Another fan favorite is Truth Serum Pale Ale, a beer we brewed with our friends at Truth Training [fitness center] in East Hampton. We’re an active bunch here on the East End, surfing, swimming, fishing, sailing, and spending most of our time outdoors. Brewing Truth Serum was a nod to that—work hard, play hard and earn your beer!
Do you plan to add more beers to your catalog?
VC: Eric Moss is always dialing in existing recipes as well as experimenting with new styles. We’ll see what 2018 brings, but you can be sure we have some exciting things coming up. Eric’s focus is on brewing the best possible beer he can, and it’s been super impressive to see how confident he’s gotten in the past few years. He and Riley Sullivan have been making some phenomenal beers in Montauk.
MBC beer is only available in cans and kegs. Does that in any way affect the quality, taste or brewing process? Is there a reason you can instead of bottle?
VC: Cans are perfect for our brand. If you’re heading to the beach or on the boat, you don’t want glass. Cans are portable as well and are best to preserve quality. No light can penetrate the can, which helps the quality of the liquid. Our nautical, color-coded branding is also perfect to use with the can format.
Where do you see yourselves, and MBC, in five more years?
VC: When we started the company in 2012, I didn’t think we’d be where we are today, selling this much beer and building such a strong brand with such loyal fans. We’ve been fortunate to also build a very strong team consisting of locals, from Riley Sullivan (brewer) to Erin Burns (brewery manager), along with several others. We want to continue to build that team. We have some pretty aggressive growth goals and want to keep the quality and consistency as we grow (which we invest heavily in and take very seriously). It’s exciting and kind of scary at the same time—and I love every single second of it.
Visit DansPapers.com for a longer version of this interview. Montauk Brewing Company’s Tasting Room is located at 62 South Erie Avenue, Montauk. 631-668-8471, montaukbrweingco.com