Go yeast! New brewery coming to Coney

Talk about micro: Eby Harvey has her hands full with beer from the Coney Island Brewing Company — a self-described “world’s smallest brewery” that can be found on W. 12th Street. Come and get your own.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

The People’s Playground’s alcohol content is about to rise!

The company behind Coney Island Lager will soon debut a full-scale brewery in the beer’s namesake neighborhood.

The craft-brewer Alchemy — a subsidiary of Boston Brewery, which produces Sam Adams — said that plans are underway to start mixing the barley malt and hops at an as-yet undecided spot near Surf Avenue and the world-famous amusement district. The fermenting facility should be making suds by summer, in time to quench the crowds thronging the beach and the rides, a sales manager said.

“We’re looking to create a space where you can drink beer there on the premises and where we can supply beer to the New York City area,” said manager Mike Sheehan.

The brewery could include a bar and will definitely feature a tasting room, he said.

Coney Island Lager began as an offshoot of San Francisco’s Shmaltz Brewing Company, and operated out of Sideshows by the Seashore at the corner of W. 12th Street and Surf Avenue from 2011 to 2012. The freakshow’s owner, Dick Zigun, let the company make its micro-micro-brews by the one-gallon batch in his building rent free.

But Hurricane Sandy swamped the property, and the brewers moved out. Shmaltz sold the label to Alchemy in Aug. 2013, Sheehan said. The lager will remain as a legacy brand and will be joined by a new version of the Mermaid Pilsner and an India Pale Ale, among other varieties.

“We may use the same names, but all of the liquid will be brand new,” Sheehan said.

Alcohol and Coney Island have been synonymous for more than a century.

Besides the famous bars on the Boardwalk, the Herman Popper Building first rose on Surf Avenue between Stillwell Avenue and W. 12th Street in 1904 as a bottling plant. The facility supplied spirits to the neighborhood bars until Prohibition hit in 1920. Today, the Popper Building houses Popeye’s Chicken.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at wbredderman@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at twitter.com/WillBredderman.

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