NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Blue Point Brewing Company is a Long Island-based brand that is rapidly expanding.
In its early stages, Blue Point fought for tap space in local bars and restaurants just like any other brewery.
Founder Mark Burford says he knew they were about to take off when they won the gold medal in 2006 for their Toasted Lager from the World Beer Awards.
"That sort of signaled that we had arrived, that the quality of the beer was world class, that people started to hear our name," Burford said, adding that the award raised Blue Point's credibility. "It was a little bit more of respect that we gathered so when you mentioned that to somebody you weren't just some kooky guys in the shed making beer anymore, there was something to it. It would resonate with people on a different level."
Blue Point is widely distributed nationwide, but prides itself on being local and an integral part of the community, which was recently solidified when they sponsored the annual Long Island Oyster Festival, which attracts 200,000 people over two days in Oyster Bay.
"We were the only local, fresh beer that was available so it stood out next to the beers that were on tap," Burford said. "We were locally brewed and the word local means so much now, it was not as big a thing back then... When we started it was unknown on Long Island, I sort of saw this movement coming and I thought there'd be enough sales, I thought there was a demand for local and more flavorful and being part of the community. So when we started, that was what we had, we didn't really have anything else as a push but we were able to make good beer, we knew we could do that, so we were going to hang our hat on that in the beginning and when you're small enough that's good enough but as time goes on and the industry changed with us, so the craft beer industry grew right along with us and we were able to keep up and maintain."
Now they're constantly innovating, creating a new beer almost every week to cater to the consumer's drive for choice.
"The consumer used to be very brand loyal, now they're not. Now they change, they try different things so you have to constantly innovate and be on top of whatever the next trend is and give people something interesting to keep them coming back to your brand," he said.
Burford recently sat down with Joe Connolly ahead of next week's WCBS BNB Bank Business Breakfast to discuss their expansion into DUMBO, Brooklyn and their new partnership with Anheuser-Busch, which allows Blue Point to maintain autonomy over its beer and marketing.
"If we need to make more of a beer we will have the ability to go and get equipment or somehow produce as much beer as we need," he said. "One of the problems when you're a small brewery is you sell a keg of beer and then you go back and you go, 'Uh-oh, we sold a keg of beer now we gotta buy another tank to make more beer the next month.' And the money all cycles back and forth and at the end of the year you're scratching your head because it's very expensive to grow manufacturing. One of the big advantages we have the resources now if we have something that's going to work for us in being successful we have the backing to do it."