Bobby Rodriguez of Po’ Boy Brewery is the new kid on the block as far as Long Island nano breweries go, but he’s far from a brewing novice. Rodriguez began homebrewing in 2008 and since then he has won more than 30 awards for his beers and ciders. Most notably he had his Imperial Force, produced by Port Jeff Brewing Company. Now Rodriguez has launched Po’ Boy Brewery out of A Taste of Long Island in Farmingdale, but he’s not quitting his day job just yet.
In addition to brewing, Rodriguez works in health care. In 2013 he met Jim Thompson, who was considering launching an alternating proprietorship brewery at a Taste of Long Island. Rodriguez saw a Taste of Long Island as a way to enter the brewing industry without giving up his career.
After about a year of paperwork, waiting on licensing and equipment, and outfitting the little brewery, Po’ Boy finally sold its first commercial beer last week. Rodriguez holds a farm brewers license, which allows him to also produce ciders. Rodriguez honed his cider making skills at home and is now scaling it up, turning out spiced, sweet and yet potent creations that draw in customers beyond the craft beer crowd. Among the first releases are Catch Me If You Can Gingerbread Cookie Cider, All American Apple Pie Cider and Monster Eye Rye IPA.
Po’ Boy Brewery beer and cider can be found on tap at a Taste of Long Island, the Nutty Irishman in Farmingdale and Tap & Barrel in Hauppauge. Rodriguez plans to expand distribution. “The people who buy beer in a bar or a brewery are the people already looking for it,” he says. “You’re not going to reach that couple who just went out to eat and stops by a farmers market. That’s how you get your name out there.” Keep an eye out for it on taps across Long Island.