Strap on your drinking shoes, Westhampton Beach—there’s a new brewery in town! The aptly named Westhampton Beach Brewing Company (WHBBC)—where every day’s a beach day—announced in January that it had signed a lease for 4,800 square feet of space at the Hampton Business District Park at Gabreski Airport. And, soon, they’ll be pumping out that sweet, sweet nectar of the gods.
According to Brian Sckipp, one of the brewery’s co-founders, the brewery began as a philanthropic idea in a Washington D.C. bar during National Police Week. A portion of the proceeds from that night out were donated to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.
“While having a couple of pints, we discussed ways we could give back to our communities and honor those who protect us. Perhaps we could make a beer that friends and neighbors will enjoy and a portion of the proceeds could go to support causes we believe in.”
The “we” drinking the pints in D.C. were Sckipp, former COO of Sherwood House Vineyards, John Salvaggio, former CFO of Sherwood House Vineyards and Kathleen Tedesco, a businesswoman with over 25 years experience in finance. “John and I are childhood friends who grew up together in Kings Park,” Sckipp says.
After working at the Sherwood House, where the duo shared the responsibilities of marketing, distribution and management of the day-to-day business, they both decided the East End is where they wanted to settle with their families. “After we concluded our business with the vineyard, we decided to pursue our original business dream, a craft brewery,” Sckipp adds.
The next part of the puzzle was finding a head brewer. Tedesco, to their good fortune, had a friend who had a great reputation for brewing beer. “She introduced us to Dave DeTurris and a fast friendship began,” Sckipp says.
DeTurris, former head brewer at John Harvard’s Brewery and Ale House in Lake Grove, has been brewing professionally for more than a decade and is the recipient of many awards in the field, including a 2010 Best Beer award at Tap New York, the state’s largest craft brewery festival.
“I’m very excited to get up and running,” DeTurris says. “After John Harvard’s closed I wanted to get into brewing but I wanted the right opportunity. When I was approached about WHBBC I knew it would be a huge success.” It’s obvious that DeTurris, like his partners, is eager to bring a unique beer identity to the Hamptons.
We all hoped the brewery would be up and running in time for Saturday’s Westhampton Beach St. Patrick’s Day Parade—can you imagine a better time?—but, according to Sckipp, “some construction concerns set us back a few weeks.” He assured us that they’re back on track. “We expect to have a soft opening in April and a grand opening Memorial Day weekend.”
Once the brewery is up and running, East End beer lovers can expect a variety of beers from WHBBC, including staples and seasonals. “The plan,” DeTurris explains, “is to have a staple of three year-round brews, including a beach blonde, a pale ale and a stout. Then we’ll toss in a bunch of seasonal IPAs and some other crowd pleasers.”
He mentions using local ingredients, saying they will be used as often as possible. “I’ve used a few local vendors in the past and their products have always made superior brews!”
Sckipp’s excitement is also palpable. “We’ve been active in putting the plan together and researching our needs for three years. But we’ve really been talking about this happening for over a decade. I’m confident we have found the perfect location and I can’t wait to open our doors and begin sharing our product with the East End and beyond—we are ready to make this dream a reality.”
Lucky for them, we’re all ready to drink.
Find out more about Westhampton Beach Brewing Co. at whbbrewingco.com, on Facebook or @WHBBrewingCo on Twitter and Instagram. Donate at different reward levels at gofundme.com/whbbrewingco. The tasting room and brewery will be located at 220 Rogers Way, Westhampton Beach.