Brooklyn Brewery today announced plans to roll out their barrel program to the Brooklyn Navy Yard in a big way. The Williamsburg-based beer operation already has a warehouse at the yard where they’re aging 2,000 barrels of wine, bourbon, rum and mezcal by way of experimental processes. But come 2018, the company will open their new “primary headquarters” to the public inside Building 77 at the center of the yard, where they plan to produce 50,000 barrels of beer annually.
The site’s 1 million square feet of underutilized space is seeing a $185-million redevelopment, with $100 million of the funds coming from the de Blasio administration, a subsidy traded for the promised 3,000 manufacturing and industrial jobs the new brewery operation and construction project will create.
Brooklyn Brewery will lease a total of 75,000 square feet in the building, with 15,000 square feet on the ground floor. The massive space, however, will still allow them to share with another local business, this one from the Lower East Side– Russ & Daughters– who, as we first learned back in February, are opening an enormous, mixed-use retail and production facility in the Navy Yard. There will be other food manufacturing operations on the ground floor, too, including a “chocolate brewery” run by the shady (then not-so-shady) beardo boys of Mast Brothers, and a coffee bean toastin’ affair fronted by Brooklyn Roasting Company. The food hall could be open to the public as early as 2017.
According to Brooklyn Brewery CEO Eric Ottaway, the ground floor food hall will be separated from their brewing operations with glass walls, and a walkway overhead will allow for tours. As for the “cherry on top of your Sunday,” he revealed plans for a rooftop restaurant and beer garden to accommodate up to 400 people (check out the resulting killer views below).
Ottaway added that they’re also in active discussions for another “very large brewery out on Staten Island” that, if it becomes a reality, will handle beer production that’s currently done in Utica. The prospective location on the borough’s west coast, will produce up to 1 million barrels annually. Ottaway said that, if all goes well, Brooklyn Brewery could announce the exact location in the next few months. With the Navy Yard and the potential Staten Island deal, the brewery could eventually reach annual production levels of just over 1 million barrels, a huge increase from the 260,000 they’re on track to produce this year.
At the press conference, the CEO took the opportunity to dispel rumors that the brewery is about to leave Williamsburg, saying that they’ll continue their brewing operations there until their lease expires in 2025. At that point, the brewery “will try to keep a footprint in the neighborhood that helped them get going,” which would likely mean maintaining a brew pub and retail space.
Brooklyn Navy Yard President and CEO David Ehrenberg, Brooklyn Brewery Founder Steve Hindy and First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris also spoke at the press conference, and toasted the announcement with Brooklyn brews. “I think this would be a good time for a beer,” said Shorris, invoking Franklin Roosevelt. Cheers, fellas.