Monday, August 25, 2014

New ownership

Simon Leonard has taken a majority ownership in Fire Island Beer Company LLC, with the original founders retaining a minority interest. Simon is the founder and owner of Blackrock Beer Company, a beer consultancy firm based in Fairfield CT.


Simon had been working as the consultant master Brewer for Fire Island Beer since early 2013, where he had worked to formulate two new beers and rework some of the existing Fire Island offerings. Through this process he had realized that his dream lay in brewing rather than his day to day job working as a Senior Vice President at an Investment Bank in New York. In May this year he made the switch to the world of Brewing and over lunch with David Van Wees, Founder of Latis and Partner in Fire Island Beer Company it was evident that taking on Fire Island would a great opportunity for Simon to continue his work on the product but also set a platform for future growth of the Fire Island Brand. The new structure will allow Fire Island Beer to be managed by a small team solely dedicated to the growth of its brand.


Combining 12 years of business management experience in the Financial Sector, a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and consulting as a brewer for Fire Island will stand Simon in good stead to take the dreams of the original Founders and make them reality. This will include a physical location in Long Island and potentially a sister site in Connecticut. The original founders will still have a stake in the Company and will be instrumental in helping move the Company forward.


Latis will assist Simon for during a transition period and Radeberger USA will remain the selling agent for the brand. Thus, nothing will change in the short-term with regard day to day sales and management of the Fire Island Brands.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Cajun Shrimp Boil for the Kismet Fire Dept!

Fire Island Beer Company once again joined forces with the Chance Beach House to support the Kismet Fire Department. We supplied a keg of Pumpkin Barrel Ale for the annual event, where members from the Kismet Sharehouse Community mingled over what Chance owner/manager John Blesso refer's to as his favorite meal:

"It's shrimp and sausage and corn and potatoes and onions and French beans all boiled together in cajun spices and then poured out over paper. No plates, no utensils, just grab whatever looks good (on the table that is) and eat."

We were happy to report that the one accoutrement necessary for this feast was a cup and this crowd of 70 proceeded to drain the keg of Pumpkin Ale while supporting Kismet's bravest. Cheers to all who attended and to the Kismet Fire Department!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Of Deer Ridin' and other Foibles...

If you’ve ever been out to Fire Island, you’ll know that the deer run the place. Mainly because they don’t have to worry about getting run over by cars (cause there aren’t any) and because there’s plenty of tasty vegetation for them to munch on. They lead remarkably chilled-out lives. In fact, there’s only one thing these indigenous deer have to worry about...

Imagine, if you will, a warm summer night out on Fire Island. A man- one of the founders of Fire Island Beer Company, in fact- is sitting out on his porch in Atlantique, kicking back some Lighthouse Ales and watching a random deer hang out. After one beer too many, a strange and unshakeable thought enters his mind:

What if I put a saddle on that deer and rode it over to Ocean Beach?!

Fortunately for the deer, the co-founder in question (who has asked that he not be identified, in accordance with the Beer Drinker’s Code) voiced his idea to his brother and cousin before acting on it. They were a few beers behind him, so reason won out and the lucky deer was spared a twenty minute walk with a drunk human being on its back.

Sometimes you can’t always get what you want. But dreams never die- they just retreat to the back of the mind, where they wait for the right moment to re-emerge. That moment came some months later when that same Fire Island Beer co-founder went to Johnny Famous Bar and Restaurant in Bayside, NY. Over there, he found himself face to face with a rather impressive and fierce-looking mechanical bull.

In that moment, he knew what had to happen, with as much certainty as he’d known anything else in his life:

I’m going to turn that mechanical bull into a mechanical deer. And then I’m going to ride the damn thing.

Unfortunately, flashes of genius never come with insurance: putting antlers on the bull would probably make it too dangerous to ride. But like it is with all endeavors, there’s always another solution. Our very talented creative team made an antlered bib for the bull to reveal its deepest secret: that this mechanical bovine wished it was a deer.

We actually think this was funnier than antlers would have ever been- not to mention the potential as a fashion accessory. (Don’t you wish you were a deer too?) Only the bull knows if it has recovered from the psychological trauma though...

With the promise of a pint of Fire Island Beer for everyone who dared to ride the deer, it was no time before people started pouring into Johnny Famous that fateful Thursday night. We were the only people in the bar when we got there at 9pm, and by midnight, there were well over 200 partygoers, watching people fall off the deer and dancing to the DJ’s slammin’ beats.

When all was said and done, 362 people walked through the saloon doors to join us for a night of fun and debauchery. Props to the bartenders for holding it down!

Thank you for all of those who showed up, cause this really was quite the special night. And if you missed out, no worries- we’ll be hosting another event at Johnny Famous in the very near future. So stay tuned and you’ll have your chance to live the dream and ride the deer too.

In fact, if you do come to the next one, find one of us- we’ll challenge you to a deer riding contest. Loser buys a beer and a nice venison steak.

Cheers, and till we meet again-

The Fire Island Beer Company Crew

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Kismet July Fourth Pig Roast

For the second year in a row now, Fire Island Beer Company donated kegs of Lighthouse Ale to Kismet's annual Pig Roast to support the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. IAVA played an integral role in helping to pass the new GI Bill, and generally helps make sure that we uphold our end of the bargain to the men and women returning from those battlefields.

John preparing the roasting box

When John Blesso, the owner and manager of Chance, a beach house that caters to hard-core foodies in Kismet, first roasted a whole pig during the July 4th weekend in 2005, he wasn't expecting to be bombarded with Kismet's entire sharehouse community. The following year he ordered a larger pig, maxing out the capacity of his Caja China, a roasting box popularized by the whole-pig roasters in the Miami Cuban community. A couple of years ago, he decided to make the most of his annual event, and began requesting a voluntary donation to IAVA. Last year, we decided that this would be a great event for Fire Island Beer Company to support.

Dinner arrives.

Ninety-one pounds of delicious oink fed one hundred people who mingled and ate and drank while supporting IAVA on the Fourth. Together they raised more than $1500 for IAVA and we were proud to be a part of it. There's nothing better than people having a great time for a great cause!

One roasted pig!

-- Special thanks to John Blesso for his help in preparing this blog post.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

FIBC @ NY BrewFest 2010

Ten thousand people, three hundred beers, one hundred brewers but just six kegs of Red Wagon IPA and Lighthouse Ale. We did it. You did it. We did it together, all ten thousand-plus of us. We poured and tasted and chugged and danced (along to live bands) and noshed (on gourmet pretzels) and laughed our way through New York Brewfest 2010. Set on Governor's Island, the most picturesque best-kept secret off the southern tip of Manhattan, we couldn't have dreamt up a better crowd or better weather. This was hands down one of the most exhilarating events we've been a part of to date. Check it out for yourself:


The lines were long, but the day was beautiful, the music was great, and the beer just wouldn’t stop flowing. All in all, a great recipe for a BrewFest.

Everyone was given a small sampling glass, but they definitely added up. By the end of it, people were more than happy to show us their beer faces.

Alas, all good things must slowly come winding down to their end. Beer-drinkers, who have an innate knack for sensing such things, were camping out by the Fire Island booth to get as much delicious beverage as they could possibly imbibe before the event shut down. Fire Island Beer Company stickers were being snatched off the tables in the dozens and stuck on the most inappropriate of places.

After all was said and done, we packed up our booth and headed for the ferry. We then ran into a human traffic jam of about a thousand people, all trying to get off the island. The combination of a day at BrewFest and the ongoing World Cup led to some very interesting chants as we waited for the ferry with nine hundred and ninety-seven other beer fans.

It took about an hour to cover the last hundred yards to the ferry, but we finally made it back to the mainland. Then came the final part of our journey: finding a taxi. In the midst of high-fiving BrewFest survivors who may or may not have recognized us from earlier in the day, we wandered through the deserted Financial District for about twenty minutes with Fire Island Beer Co. president Jeff Glassman and his friend Victor, as we tried to find a cab. Jeff was pulling around a cart loaded with all our promotional materials, included the giant wooden box you can see in the earlier photos. That's how you know you've got a cool boss.

All in all, it was quite the day, and if you didn’t make it out this year, you owe it to yourself as a beer fan to make it to the next one!

Monday, July 5, 2010

3rd Ward: Of Resonance Chambers, Furry Musicians, and Lighthouse Ales

NY-based sculptor and multi-disciplinary artist Joshua Kirsch successfully transformed the lobby of Brooklyn design center 3rd Ward into a giant musical instrument for his Sympathetic Resonance event, and Fire Island Beer Co. was on hand to provide the brews. And resonate it certainly did.

The Resonance Machine (as I took to calling it after a beer or two) looked every bit as impressive as its name suggests. The ceiling and walls were covered in a succession of 56 wall-mounted “units” connected, by means of an elaborate and arcane pulley system, to a keyboard that anyone could play around with.

Joshua Kirsch explains his interactive sculpture to the crowd.

Of course, this machine was situated a little bit away from the bar, so I didn’t get a good look at it until a couple hours later, when the beer ran out. At that point, I also got to chat with Joshua Kirsch. In addition to being insanely talented, he’s also a very cool dude. As it turns out, Joshua blurs the lines between sculpture and engineering- Sympathetic Resonance isn’t just a sculpture, it’s an interactive musical instrument, a playable machine that makes music- art and performance art, merged into one.

Meanwhile, I was behind the bar hooking people up with bottles of Lighthouse Ale and Red Wagon IPA, soaking in the ambience and, of course, the sweat (that perennial summertime hazard). I felt a little isolated from the music, until around 9pm, when I suddenly noticed two very interesting characters standing in front of the bar. Words can’t really do them justice:

At first I was convinced it was some kind of strange trip brought about by a combination of beer and the sympathetic resonance machine. Then I learned it was just the Xylopholks. Playing the xylophone and the double bass on a sweltering summer day, while dressed in heavy, fur-covered costumes- now THAT’S commitment to one’s art! They play some great tunes too.

All in all, it was quite the party. A little different from anything we’ve attended before, but certainly the kind of different that one could easily get to enjoy. We’ll definitely be teaming up again with 3rd Ward soon- in a couple weeks, in fact, for their annual Pig Out! event. So if you’re in the Morgan Ave area on July 18th, come on down for some crazy times and some Fire Island Brews.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Fire Island Beer Company does Yelp!

We were on hand at Yelp's Golf Center event on Randall's Island last week to pour some beers. The event was an invite-only party for Yelp's Elite members, a five-hour extravaganza with music, games, food, and of course, Fire Island Beer. We were set up right next to our good friend Miki who runs Slice: The Perfect Food. Between her gourmet pizza and our beer, we had the crowd going a little bit wild. Drop by Slice Pizza on 535 Hudson for our pizza/beer pairing tomorrow night if you want a taste.

Over the course of the evening, we got to chat with some of the Yelp Elite (Yelperatti?) and they were definitely having a good time. Of course, if you can be in a giant tent full of free food, beer, and music and NOT have a good time, well then, you may need to come out to Fire Island for a couple days so we can help you get your priorities straight.

We managed to catch up with the purveyors of fine music for the evening, Roosevelt Dime, in between songs. Not only do they perform awesome music, they are well-versed in the ways of the Beer, and were happy to share a little insight or two.

We also had the opportunity to meet many a cool Yelper, and they had the opportunity to meet both our beers. By the end of the night, they had gone through a couple kegs of beer and the band, Roosevelt Dime, was in full swing. As was the party. People were dancing like there was no tomorrow. Words can't really do it justice, so we'll let FIBC President Jeff Glassman do the explaining:

All in all, it was quite the epic event. Kudos to Yelp for making it happen! Till the next time,

The guys at Fire Island Beer Company