Oct. 30, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
An award-winning Long Island City brewing company is about to get bigger after securing a new location in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York.
Big aLICe Brewing Company, which was established at 8-08 43rd Rd. in 2013, has purchased a former brewery in Geneva and will expand its operations into the region in the spring.
Owners Kyle Hurst and Scott Berger inked the deal Tuesday and said the new premises is an ideal opportunity for the company to grow since it can produce three times as much product as its Long Island City location.
The pair said that the new 2.5-acre site sits in the heart of the bustling wine and brewery region and also comes with a taproom where it will sell its full range of IPA’s and sour beers to visitors.
“We’ve been looking to expand for a while now and we were just waiting to find the right spot with the right equipment,” Hurst said.
The new site, which has a 15-barrel brewhouse system, will mimic Big aLICe’s Long Island City premises as it has a brewery and taproom. The company also has a Brooklyn location, which has a taproom and boasts a barrel-aging system.
The pair said that the Finger Lakes premises requires some indoor and outdoor cosmetic work and they will also be adding outdoor seating as they have a “nice chunk of land” to play with.
“It will have the same look and feel as our LIC location with reclaimed wood, metal lining, subway-style tiles and black pipes,” Hurst said.
Hurst said they are undeterred by the current COVID-19 restrictions as the premises has an expansive outdoor area they hope will be an attraction for customers in warmer months. They want to turn the site into a prime destination for the region’s popular wine and drink trails which they both experienced recently.
The duo, who are brothers-in-law, visited the region for the first time with their wives over the summer and said they fell in love with its stunning lakes and picturesque landscape.
After they returned home in August they were searching online for residential properties when they came across a sales advertisement for the brewery and jumped at the chance, according to Berger.
“It was kind of serendipitous. If we had not been up there and really connected with the area I’m not sure we would have looked at it the same way,” Berger said.
They will not, however, be closing their Long Island City facility and said that their business is very much rooted in LIC. After all, it’s in the name.
Big aLICe Brewing Company is named in honor of the Ravenswood Generating Station which is nicknamed “Big Allis” after its builder, Allis-Chalmers Corp. “LIC” is stylized in “Big aLICe.”
The pair said that the Finger Lakes brewery will produce their flagship drinks like Queensbridge IPA and Lemongrass Kölsch along with other rotational offerings. Not all of the company’s full range of drinks will be made at the new site but they intend on having all of their drinks for sale at their three locations.
The company uses only New York state-sourced ingredients and Berger and Hurst have plans to grow some of their own ingredients on the new property too.
While Big aLICe has suffered a tough 2020 with production down by around 40 percent, it has been the company’s best year in terms of recognition, they said.
The business has won a slew of awards including Small Brewing Company of the Year at the Great American Beer Festival.
One of its new beers also won the Best State Beer at the New York Craft Beer Competition. The winning brew called “Its Many Lives of Our Lives” is aged in red wine barrels and neutral oak with cherries and blueberries.
“It’s been a challenging year but we’re excited and looking forward to the future,” Berger said.