New Yorkers who want to unwind after Superstorm Sandy by pouring a local beer might have a harder time finding one.
While most breweries made it through the storm intact, the surges of saltwater, power outages and distribution problems have all dealt a blow to New York’s thriving beer industry.
The storm did destroy a small Long Island brewery with a following among New York’s beer lovers, Barrier Brewing in Oceanside.
Brooklyn Brewery, one of the biggest U.S. craft brewers, managed to escape serious damage at its facility near Brooklyn’s Williamsburg waterfront, where water stayed a block away. But its distributor, Phoenix/Beehive, took in five feet of water at the storm’s peak in its warehouse on Brooklyn’s Red Hook waterfront, according to a Facebook post by Steve Hindy, Brooklyn Brewery’s president.
Sixpoint Brewery also took in water at its facility on the drenched Red Hook waterfront. It said on Twitter that it was “whacked pretty hard and without power” but said that it would be brewing again once electricity was restored. Sixpoint has expanded its reach over the past year by canning its beer, which previously had only been available on draft.
At Barrier Brewing, saltwater from the ocean and surrounding bays reached about six feet outside the brewery and four feet inside, said Evan Klein, a 32-year-old co-founder. The full extent of the damage would not be known until power was restored and equipment could be tested, but Klein said he expects to have lost the brewery’s forklift, delivery trucks, pumps, mill and possibly its brew tanks, as well as much of its inventory and ingredients.
Barrier has already filed its insurance claims and requested disaster relief from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Breweries in and outside New York have asked to help, with offers ranging from providing ingredients to cold storage to brewing, Klein said.
The two-year-old brewery had just moved into its new facility in June. Neighbors told Klein that last year’s Hurricane Irene had flooded the area with about a half-foot of water, but nobody expected a surge of six feet, he said.
“We didn’t see that as a tremendous problem,” Klein said.
Along with saltwater, oil has flooded into the brewery from neighboring industrial businesses and boatyards, Klein said.
“It’s a pretty bad scene, but we have no doubt we’ll be operational again, maybe in two months, hopefully by the end of the year,” he said.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.