Even though the Barclays Center has yet to fully stock his beer, Brooklyn Brewery boss Steve Hindy still loves the project, as he makes plain in this email to The Observer, which we excerpted in the previous story. Even when people were hating on him for supporting the project, Mr. Hindy stood by it, and he believes prospered because of it. He covered a lot of territory in his note to us, so we figured why not post it in full.
We had initially asked Mr. Hindy why we could not seem to find any of his wares at the Barclays Center, and if his failure to buy a sponsorship (a very common practice among brands at the arena) had anything to do with it. Here is his response.
We did not do any advertising in the new arena. The big breweries did. The asking prices were way beyond our ability to pay.
But we expect to have a good presence there, in bottles, cans and on draft. We did purchase a suite and we enjoy Brooklyn Lager and Brooklyn East India there.
You are correct: I did strongly and publicly support the Atlantic Yards project. I did not expect to be a big public supporter; I sort of stumbled into it. The Brewery did a Nets promotion soon after the project was announced. It was a family event, with Daryl Dawkins and the Nets dancers. People brought their kids and got free hats and t-shirts. It was fun.
The next day, some of the more radical opponents of the arena called for a boycott of the brewery. The bar Freddy’s, which was bought out with imminent domain (at a great price), made a big show of throwing us out. Some bars in Flatbush and Park Slope still will not carry our beer because of the controversy. Not to whine, but it hurt because we have put a lot back into this community.
I did not back down and ended up writing an op-ed in Metro defending the project.
I think it is a great thing for Brooklyn, and I think the housing will be a big success. Brooklyn needs all the economic activity it can get. Brooklyn lags behind other parts of the city and state. Those people who pooh-pooh the new jobs, part- and full-time, do not know how important those jobs are for the people of Brooklyn.
When the arena opened, I sent Bruce Ratner a note congratulating him. He replied with a nice note thanking me for my support, which he recognized led to personal attacks on me and the company. Ratner’s Metrotech, Atlantic Terminal and Atlantic Yards are the biggest developments in the history of Brooklyn. I believe they make Brooklyn a better place for all of us.
I know this was all a very small footnote to the development of the project, but it was a big deal for us at the Brooklyn Brewery. We definitely suffered some collateral damage.
But the brewery grew rapidly in the past decade in spite of that, and we will grow 30% this year. We hope to end up among the top ten craft brewers in the country. (Last year, we were #13.)