Brooklyn Brewery

79 North 11th Street

Brooklyn Brewery is a unique spot to visit for a tour. Every Friday night from 6-10 pm, you can join members of their staff in the Tasting Room for great beer. On Saturdays at 1,2,3 and 4 pm, they offer tours of the brewery. A century ago, there w... more

Brooklyn Brewery is a unique spot to visit for a tour. Every Friday night from 6-10 pm, you can join members of their staff in the Tasting Room for great beer. On Saturdays at 1,2,3 and 4 pm, they offer tours of the brewery. A century ago, there were no fewer than 48 breweries in Brooklyn. Taverns were community civic centers where the important issues of the day were debated by everyone from politicians to the workers who built the Brooklyn Bridge. In the late afternoon and early evening, it was common to see children scurrying back and forth to breweries and neighborhood taverns, carrying pails of fresh beer (known as growlers) for their families to enjoy with dinner. Brewers themselves were civic and social leaders, and their family monuments remain an impressive part of Brooklyn's Evergreen Cemetery. The last of those great family breweries, Schaefer and Rheingold, closed down in 1976, victims of competition with bigger Midwest breweries that produced vast volumes of beer more cheaply, shipped them cheaply over the country's new highway system and peddled them through television commercials that sold "national" beers as superior to local ones. By then, the light pilsner b... more

Brooklyn Brewery is a unique spot to visit for a tour. Every Friday night from 6-10 pm, you can join members of their staff in the Tasting Room for great beer. On Saturdays at 1,2,3 and 4 pm, they offer tours of the brewery.

A century ago, there were no fewer than 48 breweries in Brooklyn. Taverns were community civic centers where the important issues of the day were debated by everyone from politicians to the workers who built the Brooklyn Bridge. In the late afternoon and early evening, it was common to see children scurrying back and forth to breweries and neighborhood taverns, carrying pails of fresh beer (known as growlers) for their families to enjoy with dinner. Brewers themselves were civic and social leaders, and their family monuments remain an impressive part of Brooklyn's Evergreen Cemetery.

The last of those great family breweries, Schaefer and Rheingold, closed down in 1976, victims of competition with bigger Midwest breweries that produced vast volumes of beer more cheaply, shipped them cheaply over the country's new highway system and peddled them through television commercials that sold "national" beers as superior to local ones. By then, the light pilsner beers that most Americans drank had little in common with the full-flavored, robust lagers and ales brewed before Prohibition.

In 1984, Associated Press correspondent Steve Hindy returned from a six-year stint in the Middle East and settled in Brooklyn's Park Slope neighborhood. Hindy had caught the homebrewing bug from diplomats stuck in Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait where alcoholic beverages were forbidden. With his downstairs neighbor, Tom Potter, a former lending office at Chemical Bank, Hindy quit his job and founded The Brooklyn Brewery. Their initial goal was to bring good beer back to New York City. Due to their limited resources, they had no choice but to have their first beer, Brooklyn Lager, contract brewed in Utica, New York. They commissioned a fourth-generation German-American brewmaster, William M. Moeller, to develop a recipe for Brooklyn Lager. Moeller's grandfather had brewed beer in Brooklyn and willed his notebooks and brewing records to his sons. For the label design and company identity, they hired the world renowned designer, Milton Glaser, best known for the "I Love NY" logo.

It was not all glory for Hindy and Potter in the first years of the company. An initial test batch was hand-labelled in the basement of their Brooklyn brownstone. They found most New York distributors were controlled by the big breweries and uninterested in small local brands with little marketing money. Their Brooklyn neighbor, Soho Natural Soda founder Sofia Collier, advised the budding entrepreneurs to distribute their won brands with their own trucks. They bought a van and a small beverage truck, painted their logos on the sides and began peddling Brooklyn Lager store to store on their own. With partners Mike Vitale, Ed Ravn and Jim Munson, Hindy and Potter struggled to establish a market in New York City. Hard-boiled New York tavern owners were skeptical of a full-flavored beer that cost as much as the leading imports and had no recognition or advertising in the market.

Slowly, their brand caught on. When the big distributors began to express interest in carrying Brooklyn Lager, Hindy and Potter recognized there was money, and valuable market information, in the distribution business. They opened their doors to other microbreweries to broaden the base of their distribution company. Soon they were representing more than a dozen micros and a selection of world class beers from Germany, Belgium and Britain.


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Info

79 North 11th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 486-7422
Website

Editorial Rating

Admission And Tickets

Free

This Week's Hours

Friday: 6:00pm-11:00pm
Sat-Sun: 12:00-6:00pm

Happy Hour
Friday: 6:00pm-11:00pm

Nearby Subway

  • to Bedford Ave -- 0.3

@brooklynbrewery

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