LIBeerGuide hopes everyone enjoyed a safe holiday season and we wish everyone a healthy New Year! Our sympathies go out to everyone who has suffered from the pandemic -- especially those who lost loved ones or suffered from illness, and those who lost jobs or a business. We hope that 2021 will be a better year and encourage everyone to stay strong, look out for neighbors and help others through worthy causes, especially food banks.
As we all know, one of the hardest hit industries in the pandemic has been restaurants and bars. We lament the closing of favorite beer bars and gastropubs across Long Island, including Canterbury's Oyster Bar & Grill in Oyster Bay, C'est Cheese in Port Jeff, Left Coast Kitchen in Merrick, Parlay Gastropub in Rockville Centre, and many others. Please continue to support your local restaurants through takeout and delivery orders, especially during the cold months of January and February.
Another way to support some of the hardest hit workers is throught the Bartender Emergency Assistance Program (BEAP), organized by the U.S. Bartenders Guild National Charity Foundation. The foundation's COVID-19 Relief Campaign raised almost $10 million in 2020 and awarded over 32,000 grants to help bartenders and bar servers deal with food, shelter and medical needs. The fund is looking for donations to help continue providing grants in 2021 -- until the time comes when we can hopefully stand at the bar again across from our favorite beertenders.
LI Craft Breweries Tough it Out
Craft breweries went into survival mode during the height of the pandemic in April and May, creating new takeout and delivery services to meet demand from homebound customers. Breweries also pitched in to help their communities. Greenport Harbor Brewing used its brewery space in Peconimc to help make plastic face shields for medical workers on the East End. Blue Point Brewing in Patchogue used their fire truck to deliver beer and meals as part of their "Toast Your Hero" campaign to honor medical workers and other local residents making a difference. Several breweries raised funds for local food banks and community groups, including Great South Bay Brewery in Bay Shore and Lithology Brewing in Farmingdale.
Brian Baker at the new taproom of Bellport Brewing
But despite the challenges that craft breweries faced in 2020, the industry continued to expand on Long Island, with 9 breweries opening during the year and one more, Peconic County Brewing in Riverhead, planning to open in January. This brings the total number of craft breweries and brewpubs on Long Island to 50, compared to just 9 at the end of 2012. The breweries that opened were:
Drawing of new Garvies Point Craft Brewery planned for 2022
In another positive sign for the future, several breweries announced expansion plans in 2020. Garvies Point Craft Brewery, which opened on the waterfront in Glen Cove in 2015, is planning to expand its brewing operations and open a new facility in spring 2022 including a larger taproom with 20 taps, full wine and cocktail menu and a restaurant with a seasonal rotating menu. In Holbrook, 1940s Brewing Company is doubling its brewing operations with a new 10-barrel system replacing its old 5-barrel system, which was sold to Bellport Brewing for its new location. 1940s Brewing, which was founded in 2014 and opened in Holbrook in 2016, expects to distribute more of its canned beers on Long Island. Sand City Brewing of Northport is getting close to opening Sand City South in Lindenhurst, with a much larger brewing system and plenty of indoor and outdoor seating.
Here's to more great Long Island craft beer in 2021!
LI Homebrew Clubs Provide Camaraderie
Long Island's three homebrewing clubs -- Brewers East End Revival (B.E.E.R.), Handgrenades Homebrew Club, and Long Island Beer & Malt Enthusiasts (LIBME) -- continued to hold monthly meetings in 2020, shifting to virtual meetings when necessary but holding in person meetings in outdoor settings in the warmer weather. The clubs also continued to hold competitions, with LIBME holding its 8th annual competition in November, Instead of doing the judging and awards at the Great Beer Expo at the Nassau Coliseum, the judging of 94 entries was done at various locations and the awards presentation was held virtually. Congrats to all the winners, including Samuel Persichilli, who won Best of Show Beer for his Thunderbolt Barleywine and also Best Brewer Award for winning four 1st place awards and one 2nd place award.
Among our many wishes, we hope that 2021 brings a return to beer festivals and more opportunities to get together in person to taste delicious craft brewed and homebrewed beers!
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Looking Forward to Writing about Better Days Ahead
We want to thank all our readers and advertisers for your support in these stressful times, and we look forward to continuing to write in 2021 about the great beer community on Long Island, both in the LIBeerGuide Brewsletter and in our monthly column in the Long Island Press. Cheers!
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