Finback Brewery remains hopeful for a January launch
by Andrew Shilling
Dec 24, 2013 | 1525 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Basil Lee and Kevin Stafford prepare to launch their new brewery in January 2014.
Basil Lee and Kevin Stafford prepare to launch their new brewery in January 2014.
While it has been a long time coming with close to $1 million in project costs and numerous delayed grand openings, a couple of college friends are now confident their new Finback Brewery will be ready for a soft opening by the end of January 2014.

Three years after Basil Lee, 34, and Kevin Stafford, 32, began talking about turning their passion into profession, they are now nearing completion on the new brewery at 78-01 77th Ave.

With a fleet of hop-centric recipes including an I.P.A., porter and a wit beer brewed with ginger and Szechuan peppercorn, Lee and Stafford expect the new Finback Brewery to produce an estimated 1,500 kegs in the first year.

“We want to make sure, for us, the game isn’t to just make as much as we can and sell it,” Lee explained. “It’s about, let’s be in the right places, then pick the right bars and make the beers we love and make sure they taste right. We want to grow with the right product rather than just grow.”

On par with breweries like SingleCut Beer in Long Island City as far as size and expected distribution, Finback has a tasting hall and event space, a room designated for aged sour beers, and a yeast lab.

After years of warehouse searching in Brooklyn and other portions of the outer boroughs, the two landed in Glendale along with a slew of new developments like the newly announced Glendale Shopping Center, just blocks down the road on Cooper Avenue.

“The only drawback is that it’s a little far from the subway,” Lee said, however the two added they plan on getting some bike racks for their customers. However, the two don’t expect Finback Brewery to be a destination as much as a distribution facility for their creations.

Down the road, they plan on adding a food component to beer tasting events.

“We’re both really into cooking and we have a bunch of friends who are in the food industry,” Lee said. “It would be nice to collaborate.”

Lee has an architecture degree from Harvard and Stafford an art degree from the Art Institute of Boston, and the pari have always been interested in the creative field and researching and trying new beers.

“It has been a hobby for about eight years,” Stafford said. “ I got a kit for Christmas or something, and one thing led to another and I was brewing beer every other weekend.”

They both still love to experiment with new flavors. For instance, their summer beer is made with green tea, ginger and lemon zest, or, “what you would think of when you think of a nice iced tea,” Lee explained. “It’s very drinkable in the summer.”

“We enjoy experimenting with all sorts of ingredients and different styles,” Stafford added.

For their expected soft launch date sometime this January, the two plan to reach out to local bars such as the Forest Hills Station House on Austin Street, and in Brooklyn at bars like The Double Windsor on Prospect Park West, The Owl Farm in Gowanus, and Mission Delores Bar on 4th Avenue.

“We’re not going to be done here, but we thought it would be good to have some events at bars,” Lee said.

Lee said he is hopeful they will be ready to open the brewery for tours sometime in February 2014.

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