ELMSFORD, N.Y. - Since Elmsford is the birthplace of the cocktail, dating back to 1776, it's fitting that Scott Vaccaro would choose a location in the village to more than double the space he had in Pleasantville for his Captain Lawrence Brewing Company.
"Brewing beer in this neighborhood kind of goes with the territory," said Elmsford Trustee William Zimkin, who referenced O'Brien's Chauteau as serving the country's first cocktail 236 years ago during a ribbon cutting ceremony over the weekend.
Also joining the celebration was Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, state Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, state Assembly member Thomas Abinanti, county legislators MaryJane Shimsky and Alfreda Williams, Greenburgh officials and other well-wishers.
"This is what it's all about. It's an idea. It's a passion. It's investing in Westchester and it's a great product," Astorino said. "I hope one day Captain Lawrence is all over the country. I think it's a great story to be told."
Vaccaro, who named his company after the street where he grew up in South Salem, first got interested in the industry after seeing beer brewing on the stove of a John Jay High School friend when he was 17. He received a degree in fermentation science at the University of California Davis and worked for a few breweries in Nevada and Connecticut before opening Captain Lawrence Brewing Company in Pleasantville in January 2006, the day before the Super Bowl.
His first release was the Freshchester Pale Ale and he brewed 800 barrels the first year. He now brews 6,000 barrels annually and will likely exceed that in his new 18,250 square feet factory.
Captain Lawrence will also now have 12 beers on tap, instead of five, and be able to package 12 ounce bottles.
"We hope people are excited that we're here," Vaccaro said. "We feel like we're part of the community and we want to invite everyone in and show them what we do."
The brewery, located at 444 Saw Mill River Road, is open 2 to 7 p.m. for retail sales Tuesday to Friday and 4 to 7 p.m. for samples, and noon to 6 p.m. Saturday for retail sales and samples. Tours are also available.
"It's wonderful to have new employment in Westchester, especially one that brings people so much pleasure," Shimsky said.