Jim Thompson stands in his under-construction nano-brewery in Farmingdale.
A brewery incubator is coming to Farmingdale, but the address should be familiar to many. A Taste of Long Island, the incubator kitchen and local food market run by Jim Thompson with his daughter Courtney, will be home to the next wave of nano-breweries to hit Long Island. Currently, a Taste of Long Island rents its commercial kitchen to local producers who need an insured licensed space to work. Items produced on site are sold in the front of the house specialty market and also independently distributed. The facility gives small startup businesses a way to get their goods to the public without a huge upfront investment. Now the venture will provide several local brewers a space to professionally produce beer under their own licenses and brands.
“It’s cross generational from the millennials to the old guys like me,” says Thompson, who started home brewing in the ’90s. “I’m 60 years old and in the last year I got into craft beer.” He recruited four pioneer brewers, and with their help a Taste of Long Island is being outfitted to brew. Each brewery will rent time in the test kitchen just like anyone else, but the industrial stovetop will be used for brewing. The beer will ferment in the downstairs cold room, where each brewery has its own fermenters. They are then free to keg, bottle and distribute as they please. He envisions their graduating into their own locations, freeing up space for the next round of new brewers.
Thompson has already received federal and state approvals to operate as a farm brewery and is eager to brew once all the equipment is in place. “I would love to see Long Island become a regional powerhouse of craft beer,” he says, “and I’d love to lead that.” His beers will be the first available on tap; the other brewers will follow suit as their licenses come in. Samples, pints and growlers will be available in house and Thompson plans to sell at farmers markets, with distribution to local bars and restaurants as a goal.
Each brewer has their own vision for how they will use this opportunity, and we had the chance to discuss the venture with each of them. As they eagerly await the green light to brew, we will be profiling each of them here on Edible Long Island. Stay tuned to the nano-newness coming out of a Taste of Long Island brewery.
Alicia Valeo and Kevin Breslawski blog at Beer Loves Company.