Coney Island Brewing Company. Image via Wikimedia Commons by Amuggle
In 2011, the Coney Island Brewing Company opened up to much fanfare, selling (really small) batch brews–in fact, before it closed in 2012, it was the smallest commercial brewery in the world, according to the Guinness World Records. Only one gallon of beer was produced per batch, out of a space in Sideshows by the Seashore which they were allowed to use rent-free. According to World Record Academy, the equipment consisted of “Bunsen burners, hot plates, and old-timey mechanisms that cast a Prohibition-style moon-shine vibe over the entire operation.” But despite the nano-batch production, Coney Island Brewing Company was actually part of Schmaltz Brewing Company, which produces the equally fun line of HE’BREW beers. Sadly Hurricane Sandy flooded the property and Schmaltz sold the line to Alchemy, a subsidiary of Boston Brewery who makes Sam Adams.
The Schmaltz Brewing Company started in 1996, born out of a Chanukah experiment. Schmaltz founder Jeremy Cowan and friends used pomegranate juice to create their first beer and their line of “Chosen Beers” includes fun brews called “Jewbelation,” “Rejewvenator,” Messiah Nut Brown Ale, Genesis Dry Hopped Session Ale, and many others. For Chanukah, there’s a HE’BREW Holiday Gift Pack of beers, and of course everything they produce is certified kosher. Like all good American alcohol stories, the first production was delivered out of Cowan’s grandmother’s Volvo.
When asked about the company’s humorous vibe, Cowan responds: “One of my favorite parts of my craft beer business is to play with stereotypes and add unique angles and create additional layers of meaning and flavor.” The Coney Island connection came about because Cowan was approached by a licensing lawyer tasked with licenses for Coney Island U.S.A., and Schmaltz created a sideshow inspired craft beer line in 2008 to raise money for Coney Island.
The new operators of Coney Island Brewing Company have since released new beers, like the Tunnel of Love, Mermaid Pilsner, Seas the Day India Pale Lager. The also announced the opening of a new brewery in Brooklyn, which will ultimately cause the company to lose its title of “smallest commercial brewery in the world. You can find out where to get Coney Island beer on their website here.