By Danny Schrafel
The Blind Bat Brewery and Tasting Room is not coming to Northport Village after all.
Microbrewer Paul Dlugokencky, of Centerport, said in a June 12 email that, following a meeting three days earlier with landlord Lee Holcomb, “Blind Bat Brewery won’t be moving to Northport after all.”
“Unfortunately, he again told me that he could not include in the lease what he had agreed to, verbally and in writing, before we went before the village planning and zoning boards for approval,” Dlugokencky said.
Dlugokencky had plans to open a seven-barrel, full-time brewery at 19 Scudder Ave. and operate a tasting room at 60 Main St., expanding a business that started in his Centerport garage.
In a Blind Bat blog post June 17, Dlugokencky outlined what he said went wrong.
“We were willing to work with the landlord on all but one key previously-agreed to lease term: Right of First Refusal should his building become available for sale,” he wrote. “Having learned of another brewery that gained a new landlord who plans on not renewing their lease, we sought Right of First Refusal as a bit of protection… It simply means that if he received an offer, we would have the opportunity to match that offer. If we did not match the offer, the sale of the property would go to the other party.”
In a June 5 Long Islander News report, Dlugokencky said that initial plans to open the brewery and tasting room in August were being pushed back to early 2015 at best, and that was if all went to plan. A week later, Dlugokencky confirmed that he was pursuing other options.
Holcomb could not be reached for comment by press time Tuesday.
Earlier this spring, the brewer won approvals for the plan from the village’s planning board, and then, their board of zoning appeals.
Blind Bat Brewery got its start in 2008 as a 1/3-barrel, 10-gallon batch system, and expanded to its current size in 2010. Dlugokencky specializes in smoked beers and sells his beers at the summertime farmer’s market.
Dlugokencky said previously that he quit his day job as a supervisor for Peer X-Press at the Melville-based American Institute of Physics’ peer-reviewed journal, to transition full time to Blind Bat. Dlugokencky added that he’s ramped up production on the existing smaller system in his Centerport garage. Now he’s also looking for a new space for Blind Bat Brewery to grow, focusing again in Western Suffolk and Eastern Nassau counties, but also looking further east and west.
“I’ll let you know where we land,” he said.
Deputy Mayor Henry Tobin lamented the news Tuesday.
“It’s a real disappointment,” Tobin said. “I thought they would be very good for Northport, and Northport would be good for them… I wish them both luck in the future.”