The Brewers Collective started out as a home brew club back in 2007. Eager to brew and experiment with many different styles of beer, the nine homebrewers poured their varied brews at numerous beer festivals around Long Island. After receiving much positive feedback, the collective decided to take things to the next level. They incorporated in 2014 and celebrated their first commercial wholesale launch in 2015.
Now, 2017 brings the opening of their much-anticipated tasting room. On April 15 at noon, The Brewers Collective will host the Grand Opening at their 3bbl farm brewery in Bay Shore. Craft beer enthusiasts will be able to enjoy a constantly changing variety of beers that reflect their eclectic spirit. As the first brewery on Long Island to specialize in herbal ales, visitors will have a chance to enjoy classic standards as well as new styles and takes on traditional recipes.
Co-owner, Sarah Rich Dougherty, spent a few minutes talking about beer, Bay Shore and what it’s really like being a part of a working collective.
Who are the collective owners?
There are six owners of the brewers collective: Jason Weingarten, Tim Dougherty, Sarah Rich Dougherty, Michael Stetson, Terry Gillen and Mike Depietto.
What’s on tap right now?
Proletariat Pale Ale, Witchbinder Sage Gruit, Mattyweizen Hefeweizen, Entourage Session IPA, Chin Hook IPA, Bay Shore Badman Brown Ale, Pictish Heather Gruit and Cawfee Porter with cold-brew coffee.
What are your favorite styles of beer to brew? Why?
Gruits because they’re so different. Plus, the brewhouse smells awesome and the end product is excellent. Gruit ale is ale made either without hops, or with herbs in concert with hops. Hops are somewhat new to the brewing world, in the grand scheme of things, and people used to use all sorts of different plants and herbs to flavor, preserve and enhance their ales. The herbs used were highly localized and brewers used a wide array of ingredients across the world. Today, we use plants like sage, heather, lemon balm and hibiscus flower to brew our gruits and we’re just getting started.
What’s the vibe of the tasting room?
It’s a very chill and relaxed vibe. We kept the aesthetic very minimal with bold colors and lots of open space. We never want you to be too overwhelmed by decoration. We want to keep the tasting room about the beer and the people in it. It’s also very easily transformed for private events and special events as they come up.
How would you describe your fans?
We have fans from all different walks of life, different ages and backgrounds. They are very diverse, but what brings them together is the love of local craft beer made by people who are passionate about their craft. Our fans really dig the creative license that we take with the beers we create as well as our aesthetic. We are what you see, no false advertising and people really respond to that.
What’s something you wish people would ask about, but they never do?
I wish that people would ask more about what is to be a collective. A true working collective.
So tell us, what does it mean to be a true working collective?
We like to use the term “true working collective” because that’s what we are. “Collective” because we are individuals who came together as equals to work towards our goal; “working” because all of us put our time in—there is no boss or moneyed interest on top that we work for—and “true” because we are a collective in name and spirit, which we’ve found is not a guarantee in groups calling themselves collectives.
Being horizontally structured, with no boss, takes all of the ego out of day-to-day operations and decisions. This means your input actually counts towards something and you’re getting your fair share from the output as well—an actual fair share, not a share dictated by someone who lends you the money you need to open and does none of the work themselves.
The way we’ve come together and combined our skills and resources has saved us countless thousands of dollars in startup costs. It helps to have people with multiple fields of expertise and others who are quick learners—we are a very DIY oriented group.
Tasting hours are currently Fridays 5–9pm and Saturdays 1-9pm. Check their Facebook page for additional hours after the Grand Opening in April.