Don Sullivan, the owner of the Southampton Publick House in Southampton Village, said on Wednesday that he is in negotiations to purchase the Riverhead-based Crooked Ladder Brewery.
The move comes nearly a year after moving out of the old Publick House location on Bowden Square and into the old Driver’s Seat on Jobs Lane.
At the time of the move, Mr. Sullivan said the equipment to brew his award-winning beer would stay at the Bowden Square building and that he would continue to brew beer at the old site. Mr. Sullivan also said his long-term goal for the business was to expand its brewery operation at a new location, but not the Jobs Lane destination.
Calls to Crooked Ladder Brewery seeking confirmation of the sale were not immediately returned on Wednesday.
The deal with Crooked Ladder is not 100 percent in the bag, Mr. Sullivan said.
Last month, Ian Duke, the owner of Union Cantina, which took over the Bowden Square location, said the brewing equipment was disconnected and that brewing operations were not taking place there.
Mr. Sullivan said that all commercial brewing operations have continued to take place at a brewery near Scranton, Pennsylvania, as they have for the past 18 years. He said he has about 10 different beers that are brewed there, including four seasonals, three year-rounds and a few specialties.
Craft brewing has exploded as an industry, regionally, statewide and nationally. The Southampton Publick House was an early adopter.
It’s also one of the most award-winning small breweries in the country, holding several different honors, including being named top brewpub in 2003 by Beer Advocate Magazine. The Southampton Publick House brand had “significant momentum in brand building” in the early 2000s, Mr. Sullivan noted in 2015. He quickly began distributing all over Long Island and in New York City, and took the brand national in 2005, later signing a national deal with the Pabst Brewing Company. It’s a deal Mr. Sullivan pulled out of two years later.
But as an independent brewer, the Publick House has held its own: Small contract brewers upstate and in Pennsylvania brew about 6,000 barrels a year, the equivalent of about 80,000 cases of bottles, using the Publick House recipe, name and packaging. The beer is sold in 15 states in New England, the mid-Atlantic region and the Carolinas.
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