Hindy: I’m all in

Brooklyn Brewery owner supports Yards plan

The Brooklyn Paper
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Let the boycott really begin!

Opponents of Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards project renewed their call for a boycott of Brooklyn Brewery beer after owner Steve Hindy officially declared himself in favor of the $3.5-billion mega-development this week.

Hindy had toured the site of the project last week with members of Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, who hoped to persuade him that Ratner’s plan was out-of-scale with the surrounding community.

But after the fact-finding mission, the beer meister — who last week said he supported bringing the Ratner-owned New Jersey Nets to Brooklyn, yet was neutral on the larger project — had the opposite reaction:

“After meeting with the opposition and touring the site, we are more than ever convinced that the Atlantic Yards project is good for Brooklyn,” Hindy told The Brooklyn Papers. “Not only will it bring a professional basketball team, it also will bring much-needed affordable housing, jobs and economic development to downtown Brooklyn.”

Hindy said he felt the need to clarify his position after critics complained that no self-respecting Brooklynite could support bringing the Nets to the borough, yet not have a position on the rest of the Atlantic Yards project.

His brewmaster, Garrett Oliver, had taken just such a position last month in what he believed was a private email exchange with a disgruntled Brooklyn lager lover.

But that was no private email exchange: An anti-project group, Fans for Fair Play, leaked the e-mail to The Papers, which broke the “boycott” story last month.

“I live in the area and personally oppose the project,” Oliver, a resident of Cobble Hill, wrote in the email. He did say that he supported the arena, “if done right.”

Hindy’s delectable lagers, stouts, pilsners and ales had become the target of the boycott after he invited team officials and Borough President Markowitz to watch a Nets game and quaff his products at his Williamsburg brewery last month.

“We supported the boycott from the start, but more so now that he said he supports the project, despite our attempt to educate him about its problems,” said Daniel Goldstein of Develop Don’t Destroy.

Scott Turner, whose Fans for Fair Play Web site began the “Think Before You Drink” campaign, echoed Goldstein, saying, “It’s unfortunate that Steve Hindy supports a project that will make Brooklyn more generic.”

Hindy’s announcement comes just days after Fans for Fair Play released the “Oliver Transcript.”

The brewmaster had strayed from the company’s existing line in the exchange with angry beer drinker, Ian McLaughlin, who had emailed Oliver that he would join the boycott because of the company’s “support of Bruce Ratner’s stupid arena project.”

Most brewmasters would’ve hit delete and then checked the temperature on the primary fermenter. But Oliver did what Brooklynites have always done: he gave his opinion. But talking out of turn got Oliver into hot wort with his boss.

“He went too far and he has apologized to me about it profusely,” Hindy said.

But he blamed McLaughlin for “hooking Garrett into” the e-mail exchange. “I told Fans for Fair Play that they were ridiculous to claim [Garrett] spoke for the brewery. I said, ‘If you want to do that, I’ll put you in touch with our warehouse manager, too.’ Garrett was speaking for himself.”

Not that he’ll do much of that anymore, Hindy said, deflecting a request to interview Oliver.

Despite the Fans for Fair Play call for a boycott, Brooklyn Lager is still being sold at Freddy’s Bar, which is to the anti-Atlantic Yard side what Rick’s Place was to exiles in Casablanca..

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