Right: the brewhouse—the new brewery’s “kitchen” where beers are designed. Middle: fermenters, keg fillingt: the vast new storage space that will soon make Captain Lawrence six-packs possible
So: very huge news over at Westchester’s favorite brewery, Captain Lawrence Brewing Co. We swung by the new spot at 444 Saw Mill River Road in Elmsford to talk with Scott Vaccaro, and, folks, the new brewery is huge. Of course, the old brewery felt huge, too, all filled with gleaming tanks and fermenters and such, but the new space is massive at 19,000 square feet, and more than doubles Captain Lawrence’s current Pleasantville space.
Vaccaro, who was rushing to fill a prescription for his brand new baby, Drew (“he’s been throwing up”), says the move was motivated simply “to make more beer.” While the move will amp his production capacity from its current 9,000 barrels to, potentially, 40,000 barrels, the Elmsford space will also provide the storage Vaccaro needs to produce 12-ounce bottles at his brewery. (See image of six-pack carrier, below.) While Vaccaro has been producing larger-format bottles since Captain Lawrence’s debut, the production of 12-ounce bottles will make Captain Lawrence beer more likely to be found in supermarkets, convenience stores, and bodegas. Six-packs are the most common denomination of home-consumed beer sold in this country.
While Vaccaro maintains that he has no control of his product’s ultimate retail price (that is set by the vendors), he is suggesting that the six-packs of Captain Lawrence Freshchester Pale Ale will be sold for $9.99. This puts Vaccaro’s beer in the same price cohort as popular Sierra Nevada and Sam Adams. Currently, about 98 percent of Captain Lawrence sales are in draught beer. Vaccaro estimates that other brewers sell about 70 percent packaged beers vs. 30 percent kegs—so he conservatively figures that he could sell 50 percent of his beer in packages within the New York Metro area.
A taste of things to come: the Captain Lawrence Freshchester Pale Ale six-pack on the new brewhouse stairs
And there is other big news at the new brewery. Vaccaro’s fans might know about Captain Lawrence’s Pleasantville tasting room, a cozy 300 square feet devoted to hanging out and drinking free samples from five taps of beer. (Sure, there are growlers being sold, but generally—and I speak from knowledge—Captain Lawrence’s tasting room is all about free beer and music overlooking the kegs.) The new Elmsford brewery tasting room will be a palace by comparison, offering 1500 square feet and two rows of 12 taps. Ladies will no longer need to stagger through the barrel storage to pee (the room offers attached bathrooms), but, best of all, Vaccaro is talking with Manhattan’s Murray’s Cheese shop to bring in New York State cheeses and charcuterie. He’s planning to install a meat slicer, folks—even (gasp!) maybe a Berkel—and also is planning to offer the space for hire as an event venue. The 24 taps will finally be able to pour the brewery’s full line, while Vaccaro plans to install a bocce court off the side door. And, the new brewery’s parking is ample enough to accommodate those Captain Lawrence beer releases (for which tickets have lately been discovered being scalped). Isn’t it too fabulous? Well, guess what—it gets even better. Vaccaro is considering instituting a frequent buyers club.
Look for the new tasting room and brewery to fire up in the first few weeks of 2012. For more images from our visit, click through the gallery below.
The new tasting room: 24 taps, 12 beer—cheese and pig products, too!
Phew. With all the big beer news, it’s kinda hard to catch a break. But if you’d like to sit back and get a bit passive, you can hit these upcoming tap takeovers.
Victory Brewing Company at The Beer Necessities (Quaker Ridge Shopping Center, 11 Quaker Ridge Rd, New Rochelle (914) 278-9050 – December 22, 5-8 pm, FREE Admission – Sample some of PA’s finest—HopDevil and Golden Monkey—as you browse through a dizzying display of beer bottles and cans.
Feast of the 7 Dogfishes at Growlers Beer Bistro – December 20, 8-10 pm, FREE – Yes, people it’s Dogfish Head, the brewery of the Burkhard Bilger piece in the New Yorker, the guy brewing at Eataly. From the site: “Join us for our version of the Feast of the 7 Fishes in an extended Christmas Eve celebration with a twist. 7 Dogfish Brews: 60 minute, 90 minute, 120 minute, Midas Touch, Olde School, Chicory Stout & Palo Santo Marron.”
I’ve never liked egg nog myself (traditionally preferring a lactose-free alcoholic buzz), but egg nog in cupcake form is another thing entirely. The icing on these nutmeggy treats alludes to the frothy foam of its potable inspiration, and the cupcakes bear the dark and cozy spices of those Dickens Christmases in one bite. Mmm.