Thirty years ago Brooklyn Brewery was just getting started, and the neighborhood it was located in, Williamsburg, was an industrial area perfect for the start-up. Over the years the Brewery grew to such an extent that about 3,000-4,000 visitors from all over the world come on pilgrimage to visit the facility and Brooklyn Brewery’s beer is sold in 30 countries.
But the neighborhood has changed, too, making the owners question whether they should move to a more suitable location. Williamsburg has been gentrifying. Zoning changes have allowed apartment buildings, hotels, and a bowling alley that does double duty as a concert hall, to spring up all around. Feeling the squeeze of higher rent, the owners of the brewery decided to move to Brooklyn’s upcoming Navy Yard.
The Navy Yard offered Brooklyn Brewery a smaller space in a building which is being fitted out as a center for food manufacturing. The owners thought about taking their 115 full-time employees to the new location, and even opening a restaurant on the roof of the building.
But when the brewery’s landlords asked if they would like to extend their lease, which is expiring in 2015, the company decided to re-think the move.
Steve Hindy, one of the founders of the company, and the top executives said they preferred to stay put, because in Williamsburg “people know we’re here.”
City officials agree with Hindy. They said that they were ready to help the Brooklyn Brewery makes a new home in the Navy Yard, they would prefer if it remain in the old neighborhood as an industrial anchor.
“I want to see manufacturers thriving not only in our assets like the Navy Yard, but across the city,” said Alicia Glen, deputy mayor for housing and economic development. “From where I sit, keeping the brewery at its home in Williamsburg would be a coup, and it means the Navy Yard can use its scarce space to grow the next multimillion-dollar Brooklyn brand.”