A flurry of microbreweries and brewpubs passed through Manhattan in the ‘80s and ‘90s, leaving only three bonafide brewing operations in the Big Apple by the turn of the century. The general consensus was that opening a brewery in NYC was too expensive and demanded too much space. However, that notion was quickly debunked when Sixpoint, Finback, Singlecut, and a handful of other craft breweries started popping up, though admittedly in the outer boroughs like Brooklyn and Queens. Then, in 2012 after a certain New York governor signed a bill that would rectify long-standing bogus laws around brewing in the Empire State, the floodgates opened for breweries to set up shop across New York with relative legal ease.
At the time, bitter West Coast IPAs were all the rage, but the fruit-forward hazy IPA trend was already trickling down from the greater Northeast, courtesy of breweries such as the Alchemist, Hill Farmstead, and Tree House Brewing Company.
In 2014, Other Half Brewing opened its doors. The once-humble operation in Red Hook, Brooklyn, located across the street from a McDonald’s under the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, started brewing these tropical, hoppy, soft-on-the-palate IPAs that were arguably more approachable than their West Coast counterparts. NYC’s beer nerds — and finance bros — took notice, and when Other Half started rolling out cans later that year, the hype got real. But since Other Half only sold cans directly out of its brick and mortar until 2020, the only way to obtain a 4-pack was to suffer through the Disney World-caliber lines that would form outside the brewery on the morning of each release.
While there were a few services that existed at the time where one could pay another poor soul to wait in the Other Half line on their behalf, there was no real quick and easy way to snag these coveted beers. On top of being more delicious and a bit more expensive than most run-of–the-mill brews, the scarcity of early Other Half cans made them the ultimate flex beverage for any yuppie with a six-digit income.
Today on “Taplines,” Dave Infante is joined by longtime beverage alcohol journalist, VinePair writer at large, and author of the forthcoming book “Dusty Booze,” Aaron Goldfarb, to discuss Other Half Brewing Company’s meteoric rise. Having found himself in the line that formed outside the brewery on release days, Aaron witnessed firsthand the shift in the Brooklyn brewery’s clientele and cachet as New York’s finance bros became enthralled by the drinkability, viability, and most importantly, scarcity of the brewery’s liquid wares. Tune in for more.