No Frills Good Life With Montauk Brewing Company
We couldn’t think of a better way to kick off summer on the East End than with a visit to the Montauk Brewing Company’s HQ at 62 South Erie Avenue for a couple of cold ones. The space is still being renovated for the season (very exciting things to come) but we sat down and chatted with two of the three founding members of this local favorite. Established in 2012, it’s quickly on its way to regional (and we think eventually global) success.
Vaughan Cutillo, the entrepreneurial one, answered our questions (below), while Eric Moss the “brewmaster” poured up some up Montauk’s finest. The brand’s official mascot Sky (the English Golden Retriever) got ready for her close up and CEO Joe Sullivan (true to form) was probably still out surfing.
How/When/Where did the three of you meet?
Joe, Eric, and I grew up together, I was born and raised in Montauk. Joe and Eric are from East Hampton. We were ocean lifeguards in Montauk through high school and college; it was pretty much the best job ever – other than owning a brewery! We came back to Montauk after college and started brewing beer in my basement in 2008. We’d have summer barbeques and give out our beer to friends; that was pretty much the start of Montauk Brewing Co.
You all seem to have your separate roles outlined pretty clearly – was this an easy distinction from the start?
At the very beginning we all kind of did everything, but as time went on, our personalities and natural abilities started to emerge and our roles were defined pretty naturally. Joe handles sales and operations, Eric is our brewmaster, and I run marketing/advertising/PR for the company. We all have different strengths and that has definitely helped us grow quicker.
Starting any new venture comes with a bit of a learning curve – feel like divulging any goofs or horror stories from the early days?
We almost named the company something other than Montauk Brewing Co. This would have been a terrible mistake! Luckily, though, we went with Montauk Brewing Company and we won’t ever change.
What was one of the major high points along this journey?
There are highs and lows we deal with pretty consistently, I guess that is just business. We are fortunate to have had a lot of luck and good timing. I’d say a high point for me comes every day. I get to run my own business with two great friends. The success of the company is on our shoulders and that is very exciting for me.
You’ve been experiencing steady organic growth while maintaining your “no frills” sensibilities – what have some of the challenges been in staying true to yourselves while building a lucrative business?
I think the three of us are just proud of what we have created from nothing, in a short period of time. Staying grounded is something that can’t be taught, I believe, and we have been able to keep our composure.
If you had to pick a favorite from the lineup what would it be?
I really love all our beers! They are simple, classic styles for any occasion. I’m loving the Montauk Session IPA (the green can) right now. This beer is super drinkable, with great floral and citrus notes.
Is it ever too early for a beer?
Everyone asks this question! I think people know the answer; they are just getting confirmation from someone who makes beer.
Weekends in Montauk can get a little crazy – any special hangover cure suggestions?
Jump in the ocean early in the morning, you’re good to go after that.
Fresh air. Beach. Cold Montauk beer. Friends. Celebration. I cheated a little right there, sorry!
Best/Worst thing about Montauk?
Summer crowds / Summer crowds. Actually, living near the ocean is the best thing on the planet.
Stay tuned to Low Tide for updates on the Montauk Brewing Company’s opening date and rotating display of artworkfrom local artists and photographers. In the meantime, grab a can (or two, or three) from the outdoor bar at The Montauk Beach House!