While the summer crowds come and go, three Long Island natives are staying put on the shores of the East End -- building a brewery from the ground up with the spirit of their hometown in mind.
Montauk Brewing Company was an idea thought up by Joe Sullivan, Eric Moss and Vaughan Cutillo, childhood friends who came back together after college to live in the nineteen-mile, easygoing, old beach town that sits at the tip of Long Island. In recent years, Montauk, a well-known fishing destination, has been inundated with tourists and an ever-increasing nightlife scene.
“It was around 2009 when we began tinkering around with the idea,” said 29-year-old Cutillo. “We knew Montauk needed a brewery and we also knew the area was exploding.”
Cut to June of 2012, when, after three years of slow-and-steady prep work that included hundreds of gallons of test-batch brews and a lot of regulatory hurdles, the brewery, informally called MBC, was opened -- and the location could not have been more in line with the low-key vibe of these outdoors-loving surfers.
“My Dad is a woodworker and furniture maker, and he gave us the woodworking shop that he built…. Woodworking is a hands-on craft and now we are building this brewery in the same hands-on way.”
- Vaughan Cutillo, co-founder of Montauk Brewing Company
“My Dad is a woodworker and furniture maker, and he gave us the woodworking shop that he built,” said Cutillo. “It’s pretty cool and he is excited for us…. Woodworking is a hands-on craft and now we are building this brewery in the same hands-on way.”
Today, MBC, which has a tasting room inside the brewery, is working with a distributor to deliver the tens of thousands of gallons of beer it brews annually and is upgrading its system in order to make more batches.
“We never want to oversaturate the market,” said Sullivan. “We are slowly making our way into New York City, probably in the fall.”
The craft brews are offered in 175 restaurants at the height of the season, and MBC recently debuted can versions of their two most popular beers, Driftwood Ale and Summer Ale.
As for summer arriving, the three are looking forward to the flood of people from Memorial Day to Labor Day, with more days open and longer hours. Still, they seem most proud to serve up a good product with their hometown name on it to those in the community they know so well.
“It’s a nice and laid-back place for everyone to go,” explained Sullivan. “It’s not a bar atmosphere at all…. People bring their dogs; we have an art gallery in our taproom. And we do some charity events in the off season, which have been a lot of fun.”
Hard work and persistence, coupled with fun, seems to embody the wave Montauk Brewing Company has ridden so far.
“It’s really been an extremely rewarding experience, going from an idea to creating this place,” Cutillo said. “It’s something we’re all very proud of.”
Christina is on Twitter @ChristinaScotti