COMING SOON: LI’s first urban craft distillery
Peter Cornillie (left), head distiller, and Abby Gruppuso (right), head of operations, are ready to get some alcohol flowing through their new still. The Better Man Distilling Co. is expected to open in mid-September.

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COMING SOON: LI’s first urban craft distillery

Story By: GLENN ROHRBACKER
8/15/2019


New Patchogue alcohol maker with tasting room to occupy old Blue Point Brewery on River Avenue

There are plenty of opportunities to find craft beer in Patchogue. Now, you’ll have a chance to have locally-made craft cocktails as well, with the opening of The Better Man Distilling Co. this fall on River Avenue in Patchogue.

The company tried to take over a West Avenue location in 2017, but was unable to see that plan through. Founder Anthony Gruppuso has a unique background, owning an auto repair shop and working as a sports photographer for USA Today. His daughter, Abby Gruppuso, head of operations, said Gruppuso is someone who gives 110 percent to everything, pursuing interests to mastery, and this project is no different. 

The family owners hired Peter Cornillie to be the head distiller, coming from a long background of brewing experience. His goal is to make truly exceptional alcohol for people to enjoy. Options will include gin, vodka, whiskey and more. 

Gruppuso said they are currently building out their tasting room, located in the same spot Blue Point was, but expanded after taking down the walls. It will feature a 12-seat bar that will have specialty cocktails with only their alcohols, as well as guest beer and wine on tap. The room will also have couches, high tops and more. There will be a small kitchen serving snack foods. Abby said the decor would be modern and inviting to people, giving them a place to hang out and enjoy some drinks. There will also be a tiki patio out back.

The distillery is hosting a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to raise money for the tasting room, which can be found on their website. As of Wednesday, they are at a little over 11 percent of their $60,000 goal. Donors will earn perks, ranging from a free drink, to merchandise, to a drink named after you, to literally getting the first barrel of bourbon they make. They are hoping to raise funds to get open by mid-September.

The Better Man is a New York farm distillery, which means 75 percent of their ingredients come from New York farms. Their corn comes from a farm upstate, which is the bulk of the material they need. They’re using different botanicals to get unique flavors in each of the liquors. Cornillie has been experimenting with different flavors and methods to develop the recipes for production. The first liquor produced will be a dry gin, a favorite of Gruppuso, which should be done within a month of getting up and running. 

Visitors can buy bottles of the different liquors in the tasting room. Abby will also be heading out to deliver some bottles to local stores and restaurants. They can produce three batches at any time, about 70 gallons per week. 

“It’s been a long journey,” Gruppuso added.

For more information on the distillery, visit thebettermandistillingco.com.