Not in Westchester County?
September 16, 2019Cart

Business

by Westchester County Business Journal
by WCBJ

River Outpost brewery opens at The Factoria in Peekskill

Craft beer enthusiasts now have a new Westchester brewery to visit and sample its products.

River Outpost Brewing Co. at 5 John Walsh Blvd. held its grand opening in February, marking the latest attraction to open for business at The Factoria, the 11-acre entertainment complex at Charles Point Marina.

“The grand opening went past expectations, from an early hour to a late hour,” said John Sharp, one of the partners behind The Factoria who also owns downtown Peekskill eateries Birdsall House and Gleason’s. “It was great. We really packed them in and people came from all over.”

The brewery offers a menu of bar food and eight beers on tap that are brewed on site, from pale ales to porters.

Head brewer Justin Sturges. Photo by Aleesia Forni

“Variety is the key. We have people coming for a lot of different reasons, so it’s got to be a good mix of beers,” said Justin Sturges, head brewer at River Outpost.

The brewery is on the ground floor of The Factoria, next to bocce and shuffleboard courts, a 50-game arcade and gateway to the four-story obstacle course.

“We all really believe in craft beer and what it brings to business,” Sharp said. “And for this place, it’s such a huge compound, we thought the brewery would be a great addition.”

Large windows at the rear of the brewery give patrons an up-close view of the equipment that Sturges uses to create their brews.

“It’s really cool because I’m seeing people enjoy the stuff I’m making as I’m making it,” he said.

For now, River Outpost’s beers are only sold on site, though Sharp said that might change in the future.
“Right now, it is just to supply this big machine here,” Sharp said, gesturing to The Factoria.

Justin Sturges and John Sharp. Photo by Alesia Forni

The $5 million to $6.5 million Charles Point development is led by Sharp, along with Captain Lawrence Brewery founder Scott Vaccaro and fellow Peekskill restaurateur Louis Lanza. Diamond Properties co-owner William Diamond is also part of the project, having signed a 50-year lease for the property with the Peekskill Industrial Development Agency in 2014.

“We came up with the name The Factoria – the factory – for the whole entire compound because we tried to put as many production-type local things as we could,” he said. “The food is locally sourced. It’s all about making everything in-house.”

Fin and Brew, a seafood-centric eatery on the top floor, opened last fall. The 14,000-square-foot upper floor is also home to a catering facility, event space, outdoor seating area and two full-service bars.

Also last year, the 40,000-square-foot entertainment center Spins Hudson welcomed its first adventure-seekers. The ground-floor includes an indoor and outdoor aerial ropes course, which includes more than 70 elements, from monkey bars and zip lines to balance beams. There is also a 5,000-square-foot laser tag area.

The interior of the River Outpost. Photo by Aleesia Forni

In the short time that it has been open, River Outpost has already overcome a significant obstacle in the form of the bomb cyclone that recently rocked the region, leaving thousands of homes and businesses, including The Factoria without power.

“Saturday morning was triage,” Sharp recalled. “We started at about 7 a.m. calling people, seeing what we could do or if we could get the power back on. It was like dealing with one problem after another. Once you solved one problem, you realized there were two more problems to solve.”

Despite the outage, the partners managed to bring three generators onto the property to power enough of The Factoria to host a 250-person event on Saturday.

“We pulled it off,” Sharp said. “Everybody was happy.”

The brewery even opened for business later that evening.

“Pushing beer doesn’t need power,” Sturges said. “You need lights on to be able to see the beer, but the beer will move no matter what.”

Still, the four-day-long power outage took its toll.

“We had 400 people in here last Saturday (for the grand opening), and then to lose that momentum for the next weekend is kind of a bummer,” Sharp said. “We decided to close down Sunday, because it got to be too much. We were all exhausted.”

Despite the hectic weekend, the team behind River Outpost have a number of initiatives they look forward to in the future, which include opening up an outdoor deck with patio seating, a separate bar and live music.

Sturges, who spent the better part of a decade at Captain Lawrence before coming to River Outpost, is particularly enthusiastic about plans to gear the brewery’s offerings toward the food served at Fin and Brew.

“One that I’ve been talking about is that we’re going to use green strawberries, unripe strawberries, and basil in a beer, and they’re going to use some of those green strawberries to pickle as well, to use in their dishes,”
he said.

“Everything here, it’s all connected,” Sharp added.