By JIM McCUNE //
The first rule of the Society for Fine Liquid Provisions: You always talk about the Society for Fine Liquid Provisions.
This ain’t “Fight Club.” The members-only beer club, the brainchild of Moustache Brewing Co. co-founders Lauri and Matthew Spitz, is one of the more intriguing methods for releasing popular and rare beers, without the chaos and hurt feelings that come with the antiquated “first-come, first-serve” model.
It works something like this: Members pay a designated fee up front and in return receive a collection of limited small-batch beers – available to member only – along with a bunch of other terrific brews and year’s worth of great perks.
Known just as “Society” around these parts, the club touts hundreds of current trustees who were lucky enough to snag a membership spot before the club recently reached maximum capacity. But don’t fret, the brewery has some big news about plans to remedy this.
Riverhead-based Moustache Brewing Co. is expanding its snug, 1,400-square-foot brewery/tasting room, big time: Lauri and Matt are taking over the entire building at 400 Hallett Ave. and quadrupling the size of their operation to a spacious 5,600 square feet.
The co-founders recently announced the transformation, which is already underway, in a Facebook Live video presentation that invited viewers to post questions and otherwise interact with the Moustache Brewing team, while providing a “sneak peek” walkthrough of the massive new brewery space.
So, what does this mean for Society? Well, more beer-making capacity naturally means more room for new members, and registration is open again.
“The simple concept of a ‘beer society’ is to provide a program for our most loyal fans and our local community of beer enthusiasts,” Lauri says. “One that offers exclusive access to limited, unique, small-batch beers, monthly beer pickups and the camaraderie of supporting your local, independently-owned and operated brewery.
“Brewery memberships was the next logical way for us to grow our loyal fan base, and invest those membership dues directly back into the business, to propel the brewery and provide us with the stability and sustainability that’s needed for continued growth,” she adds. “It’s a win-win for us and our members.”
Society members (ages 21 and over) choose from a selection of one-year membership options – single, shared, one monthly beer pickup or two – with a host of built-in bennies: discounts on additional growler refills, a dollar off pints in the tasting room, other monthly discounts on brews and merchandise, insider invitations to private events, unlimited bragging rights (remember the first rule) and more.
Members can also access a “secret tap” in the tasting room and enjoy a birthday pint on the house, among other perks.
If the concept of scoring amazing and unique beers throughout the year with no hassle sounds good, you’re Society material. (Of course, membership also makes a great holiday gift for the craft-beer lover in your life.)
Assuming everything goes as planned, the newly renovated brewery will be open to the public this winter, including a spacious new tasting room with vaulted ceilings, three new bathrooms, a cold-storage unit, office space and Moustache Brewing Co.’s very own parking lot.
It’s quite a leap for a microbrewery that was founded in 2012 on a one-barrel brew system. The Spitzes actually opened their doors to the public in April 2014, and by 2016 had expanded to a seven-barrel brewhouse, exponentially increasing their production capacity along the way.
While the stepped-up production capabilities and impressive physical growth have come relatively quickly, Moustache Brewing Co.’s approach to beermaking has never changed, according to brewer Rob Raffa – and that includes those members-only Society varieties.
“Our brewing philosophy remains the same for all of Society’s small-batch beers: brew tasty beers with intention, purpose, love and ingenuity,” Raffa says. “But I’ll admit, for Society, we push the experimentation envelope further to brew super-unique beers for the adventurous palate.”
Of course, Moustache Brewing Co.’s standard menu doesn’t disappoint. The brewery serves such quirky, brewed-in-house drafts as Sailor Mouth IPA, Milk & Honey Brown Ale, Patsy Rides Again Toasted Coconut Milk Stout, Blue Box Double IPA, Baby Legs Session IPA – seriously, the list goes on and on.
The five-year-old company’s wares are self-distributed to retail outlets throughout Long Island, New York City, Westchester County and the Hudson Valley. But “since we live, work and play in Riverhead,” notes co-founder Matt, the biggest benefits of the Society for Fine Liquid Provisions are felt right in Moustache Brewing Co.’s back yard.
“The money stays here,” the co-owner says. “It’s a two-way street. Society members receive unique beer and perks all year, and their membership dues help us grow.
“We’re currently adding more space, more taps, more fermenters and a canning line,” Matt adds. “With a helping hand from Society, we were able to quadruple the size of our production capabilities this year.”
McCune is director of the Craft Beverage Division of Melville-based EGC Group. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (516) 935-4944.