Of the most recent batch of New York City-based breweries, few have made as much of a splash as quickly as Alphabet City Brewing Company. The company made its way across the Five Boroughs, starting off as a small operation and hand delivering kegs of their wildly popular Easy Blonde. They’ve just released their second offering, the Dizzy Brewnette, an American take on a German amber style.
They’ve been hitting up popular bars across Manhattan to celebrate the new product. I was able to sit down with Jerffery Simon, Jason Yarusi and Ryan Yarusi to talk about how they’ve handled their success in the Big Apple and their plans for the future. (Full disclosure: this interview took place at an event held at the bar I own, the similarly named but unrelated Alphabet City Beer Co.)
Zach Mack: “Tell me about the early days. Where did you guys all meet? How did you get your start?”
Jason Yarusi: “Jeff and I were old roommates on Avenue A and 7th street after meeting as bartenders some 9 years ago. We stared brewing in our kitchen in Alphabet City and constantly spoke about how great it would be to produce good beer and get it out to the market and we finally figured out the steps to get our microbrewery license and went for it. My brother Ryan has worked with us at bars around the city and was psyched to jump on board. Jeff and I each have over 10 years experience in NYC alone and sought out friends we met along the way to be our first customers for our product. The support of friends, acquaintances and everyone we have met along the way has just been amazing.”
ZM: “A truly local start. That’s part of why New Yorkers love you guys! Where do you do most of your brewing?”
JY: “Besides our kitchen? Ha! No truthfully we set up a small microbrewery (2 bbls) in Long Island to hone in on our recipes but knew this would never be sufficient for creating any kind of production, so we found a larger facility upstate, a farmhouse brewery, where we can really crank out some product. Each run we can produce a maximum of 96 kegs and at the peak of the summer we were producing over 250 kegs a month. We can’t wait to see what this year holds.”
ZM: What are your immediate plans for product releases and expansion?
JY: “Well, we just released our Dizzy Brewnette, our German amber in an alt style. We think its maltier presence is going to be a great contrast to our solo first year release the Easy Blonde, our Kolsch style ale and its light crispness with a hint of bitterness. We intend to move into cans with both of these products hopefully by summer as we have solely been available on draft as of now. We really want to focus on growing our product reach in the East Village and Brooklyn with the intention of opening a brewpub in Alphabet City in the near future or as soon as we can find a space that’s conducive to our needs. We’ve been looking and just haven’t found the right spot yet. Aggressively patient is hard but what we’re trying to be. We also want to double in production from our first year (we almost hit 2,000 kegs out to market) in our second year. And if all goes well we have a few other beers we might let loose… if we feel the timing is right.”