BY ASHLEY WELCH
Queens will soon be home to its first brewery in decades with the opening of SingleCut Beersmiths in Astoria later this year.
The company’s president and owner Rich Buceta said that the new brewery, which will be located at 19-33 37th St., is a natural fit for the borough.
“Queens has not had a brewery to call its own in a very long time,” said Buceta, 48, who was born in Jamaica.
SingleCut will feature a Tap Room with beer tastings and a stage for live musical performances, Buceta said. Visitors will also be able to take home half-gallon growlers. Though there will be no bar on the premises, Buceta said he may consider that option in the future and will hold several events a year utilizing the 5,000-square-foot-space and its stage.
If construction stays on schedule, Buceta plans to begin distributing beer throughout New York City in September.
The borough housed several breweries before the Prohibition era with Ridgewood being the most prominent neighborhood, according to Richard Hourahan of the Queens Historical Society.
“From 1905 to 1920 there were five within five blocks,” he said.
Bob Singleton, executive director of the Greater Astoria Historical Society said that although the establishments still may have brewed beers illegally during Prohibition, brewing officially stopped once it was banned.
According to Singleton, another brewery may have opened in Queens after the ban lifted. Several years ago, he found labels on eBay with the name Burke’s Brewery at an address in Long Island City.
“We don’t know though if the brewery was in Queens or if the labels were just printed there,” he said.
For his part, Buceta is excited to bring a suds factory back to the borough — and so is the community of Astoria.
“The local support has been very enthusiastic,” he said.
Five years ago, the Upper East Sider left his career as an advertising executive to pursue his passion of craft beer. He had been brewing in his home for some time and soon found a job cleaning kegs at Greenpoint Beer Works in Brooklyn.
“I went from a corner office to the brewery equivalent of being a dishwasher,” he said with a laugh.
After quickly moving up in the ranks, Buceta decided to take his career to the next level.
“Once I felt I knew my trade well and had all the contacts, I quit to start my own brewery,” he said.
SingleCut will specialize in lagers, ales and hoppy beers, Buceta said. He emphasized that SingleCut will be a “real local brewery,” meaning beer will be brewed in Astoria and only Astoria.
“We will never have our beer brewed anywhere else,” he said. “If demand becomes too great in the future, then we just won’t take on new business. That’s how important quality is to us.”