Revitalization of Patchogue Village, starting with its breweries.
Written by Helen Jiang
Blue Point Brewing co. opened the doors of its new brewery in Patchogue on April 17, adding to the growing nightlife scene and revitalization of Patchogue Village.
Blue Point, one of the few internationally known beer brands from Long Island, remains close with its community.
“We keep local partners and vendors in mind for resources to ensure we are always giving back to the community,” Noelle Witt, Blue Point Brewing Company Brand Manager, said. “We make efforts to give back to the community through our beers”.
With this new addition, there are currently a total of three breweries in Patchogue: Brickhouse Brewery, Patchogue Beer Project, and the new Blue Point Brewing Co. Other breweries in the area see this opening as a chance to bring more beer enthusiasts to the village, and welcome its arrival.
“People know about Blue Point being that it is an international brand,” Maud Franklin, the general manager of Brickhouse Brewery, the oldest operating brewery on Long Island, said. “I think it’s going to bring more people to the town to check it out, and they’ll stop by us as well during their visit”.
Long Island has increasingly set itself as a local beer hub in New York, with over 40 breweries on the island, most of which popped up over the last couple of years.
“I would say we’re constantly growing because everyone is always challenging themselves to create better quality beers,” Manny Coelho, Executive Vice President of Lithology Brewing Company in Farmingdale, said. “The more breweries there are, the better because there are more ways to create jobs, like a brew bus, or an entire tour on Long Island”.
Breweries are sprinkled through Long Island, with some clusters in Bay Shore, Farmingdale, and Patchogue. They can range from warehouses with a food truck outside, to polished tasting rooms serving up full menus.
“Patchogue is like a mini city,” Coelho said. “It’s amazing to watch how much it’s growing and when they attract people to come out, then people will come out to other breweries in Long Island too.”
As Patchogue revives, the breweries offer an opportunity to boost the village as a destination go-to on the island.
“The beer brings people together,” Gage Moody-Siegel, head of customer success at Beer Menus, said. “Patchogue has this opportunity with three breweries in the area; perhaps they could do a brewery crawl, that would be a great idea to bring in more enthusiasts”.
Alongside the breweries, there is also a growing number of beer bars and gastropubs. Beer bars serve beer as its only alcoholic beverage, while gastropubs are pubs that serve high quality food. There are currently over 30 of these establishments in Patchogue, not including the restaurants with open bars in the area. The downtown area is bustling on nights, a complete change from how the village was decades ago.
“There’s definitely been a rapid change in Patchogue over the past couple of years,” Louis Walker, associate at Louise Agnes Architecture in Northport and resident of Patchogue his entire life, said. “A lot of my work takes me to different parts of the island, and everywhere I go everyone I talk to tells me they come to Patchogue for dinner”.
Patchogue was founded in 1801, and has seen immense growth over the years. In the 60s and 70s, however, the town took a turn for the worse. During that time, vacancy rates had risen to about 10 to 20 percent. By the 80s and 90s, those rates grew to an excess of 40 to 50 percent, according to a study conducted by Todd Poole, the president and managing principal of 4ward Planning, a firm that analyzes developmental aspects of local government.
However, between 2000 and 2017, Patchogue saw nearly $700 million in economic activity. There was an increase of close to 6,000 direct and indirect jobs, as the village focused on infrastructure, and acquired grant funding to become the entertainment and dining destination it is now.
“The village has really capitalized on the whole nightlife element that craft beer is a big part of,” Bernie Kilkelly, the editor and publisher of LIBeerGuide, said. “Blue Point is a big part of the story because it is the largest brewery and most well known”.
Blue Point Brewery was founded in Patchogue 15 years ago by Mark Burford and Peter Cotter, with the original location on River Avenue. Their new brewery that opened up is on Main Street, and complete with a on-site brew pub, is much larger than their previous location, which increases their production capabilities.
“There are breweries in Patchogue, because the local government makes it easy for entrepreneurs to build their dreams there,” Meghan Harlow, a food critic and editor of Edible East End Long Island, a food magazine, said. “Contributing to that is the bustling restaurant and bar scene that has grown alongside with Patchogue breweries.The village has enjoyed a lot of economic development as a result”.
Patchogue’s rapid development makes it a growing attraction for people all over long Island, and as a result it has received $246 million in private construction investment, creating new places for the arts and dining, as shown on the report by Poole.
“As we revitalized, people all over were coming to Patchogue,” Marian H. Russo, Executive Director of the Patchogue Village Community Development Agency, said. “It’s really important to have a vibrant downtown, which includes the arts, culture, and the food aspect, which includes the breweries”.
“Patchogue has created an identity for themselves in arts and restaurants,” Poole said. “There is no question that the entertainment aspect have lent to the economic vibrancy of the downtown in particular, which spurred on additional residential increase”.
As Patchogue continues to grow economically, the breweries will be there as a source of enjoyment for the locals and beer enthusiasts. The energetic nightlife of the village has drawn in people who don’t live in Patchogue.
“They have really great bars and a lot of options to choose from,” Kaitlyn Parisi, age 21 and a waitress, said. Parisi is from Centereach, but goes to Patchogue almost every weekend. “I always have such a good time, and now that a lot of college students are coming back home for the summer, it gets super lively, which is great”.