A month after announcing his plans to expand to Peconic, co-owner Rich Vandenburgh approached the Planning Board on Monday with initial plans to convert the former dealership into a brewery.
“This is a great parcel, with enough room to accommodate the size of vessels we need,” he said. “We’ll clean up the exterior and add silos outside, which will be tucked back in the corner. It’s a good fit for us.”
Since 2009, Greenport Harbor Brewing Company has been operating out of a renovated firehouse on in Greenport, which Vandenburgh due to demand for the craft beer. But that expansion was not enough.
For years now, the former Lucas Ford dealership’s buildings have been vacant on the corner of Route 25 and Peconic Lane across from the Southold Town Highway Department and Vandenburgh said that he will add a drainage system and use existing curb cuts in the parking design. The facility will be used strictly for beer production at first, but Vandenburgh said he hoped to eventually add a tasting room similar to the one on the second floor of the Greenport brewery.
“It’ll be more like a winery tasting room, not a bar,” he said.
Though the site will generate more traffic around that intersection than it has during the past few years, members of the Planning Board were not worried about the intensity of use the brewing facility would bring to the long-dormant section of town and said Vandenburgh did not need a new site plan for the facility.
They said they think beer is a good thing for Peconic.
“I have to say I’m a little jealous,” said Planning Board member Martin Sidor, who runs in Cutchogue. “In two years you’ve moved up quicker than I have.”
Vandenburgh said he hopes to be open by next spring and plans to double his workforce. Greenport Brewing Company is one of the few commercial craft breweries to brew all of their beer on Long Island, and Vandenburgh said he plans to keep it that way even with the expansion.