The $1 million-plus buildout of The Better Man distillery in Patchogue’s old Blue Point brewery is nearly complete.
Distilling and bottling could start at the River Avenue location as early as next week, the owners say.
The hope is to open fully to the public later this summer.
In the meantime, the family behind the ambitious project is looking for help in fulfilling their dream for the community and Long Islanders in general for a mid-century modern tasting room that’s three times the size of the old Blue Point tasting area.
To do so, they’ve launched a capital-raising endeavor not unlike the Founders Club, which the owners of The Tap Room undertook in 2015 in Patchogue to expand their restaurant upstairs.
The Better Man Distilling Co. is using Indiegogo.com for the effort. Through the site, people can make contributions large and small that would yield free drinks, bottles, named cocktails, private cocktail classes, tiki parties — even a first barrel of bourbon.
Click here to visit the campaign.
Better Man owners Anthony Gruppuso and his daughter, Abby, of Bayport, are looking to raise $60,000 for the tasting room.
Unforeseen infrastructure costs is what’s causing the strain in self-funding, they told GreaterPatchogue last week.
“Every single cent we get will be going toward the tasting room,” said Abby. “And we’re offering so many cool perks.
“You could even buy your own barrel of whiskey in advance, visit it throughout the year, taste it with your friends and we’ll have an event for you to bring up to 25 people,” she added.
The renovations started on Jan. 3 of this year.
The entire building was stripped to the steel girders, with the concrete floors having to be ripped up for upgraded plumbing and electrical reasons, and well as tasting room functionality.
A custom-made, steel and copper still was recently erected in the old brewhouse as well.
The next steps include sheet rocking the tasting room.
“We definitely wanted to have a large tasting room,” said Anthony. “Everyone we spoke to in the distilling business said you can’t have enough tasting space.”
The tasting room will feature a 12-seat bar with plenty of lounge space with coaches for sipping, the owners said.
There’s also a full kitchen through which Better Man will be offering small plate snacks. On-site food is required as part of the company’s farm license through New York State.
Some of that food, such as the tortillas, will be used from spent corn grain from the distilling process.
Since much of the natural waste is going to area farm’s through Brookhaven Town’s Brew to Moo program, the pulled pork, for example, will be made from pigs that fed on Better Man corn.
“We also want to do spent grain dog treats,” added Abby.
The tiki deck will be pet friendly, though pets aren’t allowed — by law — in the tasting room.
The Gruppuso family also wanted to recognize their landlord, Art Volkman, for working with them, financially, to resurrect the building.
Blue Point vacated in December in favor of its current, larger space on West Main Street, in the old Briarcliffe College building.
“Our landlord realized that anyone who is going to invest this much money into a rental property, we’re not leaving anytime soon,” said Anthony.
Check back at greaterpatchogue.com for updates on the tasting room’s progress and more photos.
Click here to become a project supporter.