Brewing beer used to be big business on Staten Island, and now, a trio of natives hope to restore the borough to its former suds-making glory. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
When the Flagship Brewing Company opens to the public next month, the place will be brimming not just with beer, but with Staten Island pride.
"All these beers being developed here kind of have an attitude all their own that are very Staten Island," said Jay Sykes of the Flagship Brewing Company.
Sykes, a former beer distributor and native Staten Islander, has paired with two childhood friends to open the brewery. They've got four beers on tap, brewed and seasoned with hops planted on Staten Island.
Head brewer Patrick Morse said he spent time at dozens of Island bars and restaurants to come up with blends of beer created specifically for Staten Islanders.
"It's a working, how would you say it, blue-collar beer for the working man around here," Morse said.
Flagship owners searched for a home for a year before settling on a 13,000-square-foot former auto repair shop.
The Tompkinsville location is sandwiched between planned attractions near the St. George Ferry Terminal and the redevelopment of the Stapleton Homeport. That waterfront development is expected to bring large crowds to the island in the coming years.
"We all know the Ferris wheel's going along with the Empire Outlets, the Stapleton Homeport, and we've been hearing for years that this is really going to happen, and I think really now, people are starting to see that ground's breaking on a lot of this stuff," said Matt McGinley of the Flagship Brewing Company. "We feel like we got in a little bit ahead of everything."
Staten Island hasn't had a major brewery since 1962, something Flagship partners said they are excited to change.
"The slogan for us is, 'Unforgettable beer brewed in the forgotten borough,'" Sykes said.
Most of the business will focus on distribution, but the brewery will host happy hours and tours in a 4,000-square-foot tasting room, where patrons can throw back some beers brewed in their backyard.