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Brewery owners to roll out new business

The Catskill, Main Street storefront set to become the Catskill Beer Cafe.
September 6, 2018 10:15 pm

CATSKILL — A new business is brewing on Main Street in Catskill.

Max Ocean and Zane Coffey, owners of the Livingston-based Subversive Malting & Brewing, are planning to open the Catskill Beer Cafe at 414 Main St., the former home of The Daily Mail.

“We’re pretty confident we can produce some high quality beers,” Ocean said.

Once Ocean and Coffey obtain their liquor license, they will be ready to open. They have been getting the space ready for about six weeks.

“Hopefully, our doors will be open within the next couple of months,” Ocean said. “Whenever the state blesses us, we can start brewing.”

Ocean and Coffey have a production facility in Livingston where the beer is made using malt and hops sourced exclusively from the state which benefits the economy, Ocean said, adding pints and growlers, or jugs, of beer will be sold. The Subversive’s brewhouse can produce eight barrels of beer on a single turn.

“That has an economic effect that has ripple effects in New York State — you’re supporting the farms,” he said. “Once it’s all kegged up, it’ll be brought to Catskill.”

The owners consider the Catskill cafe a branch office of the Livingston facility. Inspired by old-fashioned pubs and Belgium’s beer culture, Ocean wants the cafe to be both modern and unpretentious.

“Catskill is a great place for that,” Ocean said. “It’s a unique model that we have — it’s going to take a little while for people to understand what we’re doing.”

The owners looked at spaces in Kingston and Hudson, but Hudson was deemed too expensive. Catskill was chosen for its close proximity to the Livingston facility, Ocean said.

The cafe will complement other bars in the village such as the Crossroads Taproom and other businesses will benefit, Ocean said.

“We certainly hope we’ll be welcomed as locals and be a healthy part of the community,” Ocean said. “Once we found the space and looked at it, we wanted to create something that can complement what other places are doing.”

Ocean and Coffey, who have invested around $100,000 in the business, previously won a business plan competition at Ithaca College in 2015, but the money they received didn’t go as far as they had hoped, Ocean said. They have enough money in the bank to get through a few months once the cafe opens.

“It’s a far cry from what it should take to start a brewery,” Ocean said. “It’s been three-and-a-half years to wield this thing.”

Small dishes such as meat and cheese plates will be served. Customers can bring in outside food to enjoy with their drinks, Ocean said. The cafe lacks sufficient kitchen space to prepare full meals.

“We’re brewers at heart, not restaurateurs,” he said.

Ocean’s all-time favorite beer is the Belgian Ball, which ages beautifully, he said.

“Five years later, it’s nutty and complex,” he said. “It involves incredibly over time.”

The building, worth $495,000, and is owned by Village Pizza proprietor Angelo Larosa. Ocean and Coffey have rented the space from Larosa.

“It’s a rental place, I don’t sell the building,” Larosa said.

The space has been renovated extensively and has multiple purposes, Larosa said.

“The place is brand new,” he said.

Although the new beer cafe is rented, the building is for sale, Coldwell Banker realtor Lynne Gentile said. The building is listed in both Greene and Ulster counties.

The building is 118 years old and has a 1,200-square-foot, three-bedroom, one-and-a-half bathroom apartment on the second floor, according to the Coldwell Banker Village Green Realty website.

To reach reporter Daniel Zuckerman email or follow him on Twitter @DZuckerman_CGM.