Monster, a Brooklyn Brewery mouser whose carefree charm helped him become the beer-maker’s Williamsburg mascot, passed away on Monday morning from liver failure. He was 13.
The beloved feline grew into a fixture for the brewery — and the neighborhood — as the N. 11th Street beer hall transformed from a hangout for dedicated suds nerds to a borough-wide destination for beer lovers and cat lovers of all kinds.
But when Monster came to live at the Brooklyn Brewery as a kitten, there was some concern that he would live up to his name. The brewery had already felt the wrath of Abby, the not-so-nice kitty who had come before him.
However Monster couldn’t have been sweeter, according to brewery staff.
“Monster was an angel.” said communications coordinator Dan D’Ippolito.
Monster’s life was very different from that of the average house cat. He had free reign over the entire 5,000-square-foot brewery (except during certain parties when he was locked in an upstairs room), slept on giant bags of barley, and was known by more people than Norm Peterson.
In his years at the brewery, he met tens of thousands of humans, about 1,000 dogs, and untold numbers of unlucky mice.
It was the dogs he liked the least.
“We warned our patrons to put their dogs on a leash,” said D’Ippolito. “We would tell them he hates dogs.”
Monster knew how to please people — and he knew how to make people please him.
“The morning brewer would feed him and then he’d get fed again — and then happy hour would come around and he’d get food from everyone,” said Carla Villa, the brewery’s brand manager. “He’d knock over garbage cans if there was tuna in there. Once, he climbed up the side of a brewer to get to his turkey sandwich.”
Monster’s biggest adventure was when he was catnapped sometime around 2003.
“He liked to walk around outside the brewery and someone thought he was a stray, even though he had a collar,” said D’Ippolito. “We put up fliers and he was back in a few days.”
The reward was, of course, beer.
Monster was the only cat in the brewery, and wasn’t known to rub noses with other kitties. There are two other cats — Lexi and Shadow — who live in the brewery warehouse across the street, but they are isolated from all the people and action.
So as the beer hall grew in popularity, Monster emerged as its recognizable face.
“It was remarkable to see how much attention he would get,” said D’Ippolito. “People would come here just to see him. Or you’d be e-mailing with someone and they’d suddenly attach a picture of Monster for no reason.”
By some accounts, Monster was more famous than the mastermind behind Brooklyn Brewery’s finest concoctions.
“More people wanted to get their picture taken with Monster than with brewmaster Garrett Oliver,” said Villa.
In his later years, Monster grew bony and endured a daily subcutaneous saline drip. Still, he found the energy to make the brewery and its surroundings his own personal hunting grounds.
“The day we pulled all the ivy off the building, he caught three baby birds and ate them all in front of visitors,” said Villa. “It was a little gruesome.
Even in his compromised condition, Monster kept his sense of humor, suggesting on his Facebook that he might throw his hat in the ring for City Council.
On Tuesday afternoon, Monster’s Facebook page was flooded with goodbye messages from his legions of fans; dozens of others e-mailed their condolences to the brewery staff.
“I cared about him and I cried when I heard he had died,” said Allie Compton, a Brooklyn Brewery fan. “He was very friendly but also nonchalant and would go on to other people very quickly. I have a picture of him where I’m trying to play with him and he’s looking in the other direction.”