By Janee Law
A second commercial brewery is coming to Northport Village.
Whales Tale owner Sosh Andriano was recently approved to build a 1100 square-foot brewery at the Britannia Yachting Center, 20 yards off the restaurant's back deck. He’s calling the brewery Harbor Head, and he expects to be up and running early next year.
“Our major goal is to continue to build a destination center down at Britannia Yachting Center,” Andriano said on Tuesday, the first day of Whales Tale’s 2016 season. “We want our customers to feel that while they're waiting for a table that they have an opportunity to go see the brewery, be educated about the process.”
Andriano added that he’s hopeful patrons will also stop by Harbor Head after they visit Whales Tale at 81 Fort Salonga Road so that they can “take some stuff to go.”
Andriano said the state approved a liquor license for Harbor Head three weeks ago.
The Northport Village Zoning Board signed off on the brewery last December. However, they approved it with stipulations, including that there be no outdoor activity in connection with the brewery, no outdoor tables and dining and no tasting room.
“A tasting room is really a tavern by a different name, and taverns and bars are not permitted in the Marine Business District,” Jonathan Heidelberger, Northport’s zoning board’s attorney, said Tuesday.
Heidelberger added that board expects Andriano “to make and sell for off premises consumption exclusively, and to serve in the restaurant, the products made by the brewery.”
He said no beverages of any kind will be permitted for consumption on the premises of Andriano’s planned brewery. The limitations are stricter than those placed upon Sand City Brewing Co., which is another brewery that currently operates on Main Street in Northport Village.
Andriano said he plans to to start working on Harbor Head by the end of the summer.
“To try to get the brewery up and running as we’re smack in the middle of our busy time of year for the restaurant, I think would be doing a disservice not only to the restaurant but to the brewery as well,” he said. “So, at this point, we’re going to kind of take our time.”
He said the slow pace will allow “us an opportunity to play with some different brews.”
For Harbor Head’s brewmaster, Andriano has recruited Rich Ruggiero, a Northport resident who has been brewing for 35 years.
Harbor Head will focus on boutique brewing, Andriano said, adding that the brewery’s stable will have 10 barrel fermenters. He said Harbor Head will, at first, focus on making “very drinkable, well-balanced” beer exclusively for Whales Tale.
Andriano said he wants to produce beer “that complements that outdoor atmosphere, whether you’re sitting on your boat or you're sitting [in the restaurant] having a fish taco, or you’re hanging out on the beach. We’ll also have the ability to play with some more unique boutique brewers, which might be a little bit more playful and fun in nature.”
Once Harbor Head is up and running, Andriano said he plans to keep four to five styles of its beer on tap at Whales Tale, and six to 10 brews in the Harbor Head boutique available for purchase.
“This is just for us another notch in the belt of things that we do down here, whether it’s bringing transient business or have $2 tacos, enjoy beautiful sunsets, gather with your friends and, hey, by the way, we also make beer,” Andriano said. That’s kind of what it’s all about for us.”