When Brooklyn Brewery opened its production space and tasting room on North 11th Street in 1996, the company was a neighborhood trailblazer. Today, that reality is quite different. It’s at the epicenter of a teeming social scene (and at times shit-show), just around the corner from Brooklyn Bowl, and across the street from Reynard and the Wythe Hotel.
So while the company still has nine years remaining on its lease, the Brewery has decided to wise up early: in anticipation of astronomically-further-rising rents, they will likely leave their Williamsburg space well before the lease comes to an end, and move into more renter-friendly corners of Brooklyn, according to Crain’s.
Singling out two likely locations–Industry City and Brooklyn Navy Yards–the Brewery would follow in the footsteps of Time Inc., which moved a branch of its operations late last year to Sunset Park, and Russ & Daughters, who will open a new production facility and cafe at Navy Yards. Eric Ottaway, the Brewery’s Chief Operating Officer, says the company would need 60,000 square feet of new space for a brewery facility in addition to the tasting room, and retail shop, Crain’s reports.
“[W]e know our ability to renew is zero,” Ottaway told Crain’s, in anticipation of Williamsburg rents in 2025, when their current lease is up. Ottaway also cited a developer preference for re-imagining buildings in the neighborhood as unaffordable luxury residential towers. Even when the Brewery signed its current lease, it received $800 thousand in grants from the state in order to afford their Williamsburg space, Crain’s reports. The company has no firm move-date, but Ottaway confirmed it could happen far in advance of the end of the lease.
Brooklyn Brewery is, however, intent on keeping a production facility and tasting room in Brooklyn, despite the fact that the majority of their brews are made in Utica. Keeping a base within the borough after which the company is named is important for the brand, the company says.
As Brooklyn Brewery’s overseas exports grow, they are also planning to relocate its Utica facility closer to home. A 200,000-square-foot $70 million space in Staten Island will replace it Upstate operation.
“We need to bring our manufacturing closer to the ports in the city,” Ottaway told Crain’s.