If we had to choose the official drink of summer, no doubt it would be Montauk beer. When the weather warms up, there's nothing like cracking open a cold can after a hot day in the sun. Or our personal favorite: sipping a Wave Chaser with friends when we're grilling on the deck at sunset. This year, Montauk Brewing Company celebrates its tenth anniversary of quenching local thirsts like ours. So to commemorate the occasion, we partnered with them on a limited-edition Montauk Brewing Co. X Fair Harbor Wave Chaser Trunk.
The Montauk Brewing Co. X Fair Harbor Wave Chaser Trunk honors their best-selling brew style with an exclusive design inspired by the iconic purple and white can. Featured on our classic Bayberry trunk, with a 7-inch inseam, vintage-washed fabric, and BreezeKnit liner, it's the perfect short for enjoying fresh beer and good vibes all season long.
Since we're such fans of the Montauk Brewing Company team, we asked co-founder Vaughan Cutillo to share his insights on the brand's second collaboration with Fair Harbor and his favorite memories of making beer in Montauk.
We certainly love Montauk beer here at Fair Harbor. What made Montauk Brewing Co. want to collaborate with our brand?
A friend of a friend introduced Jake and Caroline. I really liked that they were an environmentally conscious small business. The relationship just made sense right off the bat. And we had a great experience working with Fair Harbor on the Sea Creature custom short last year. They immediately jumped in with ideas to bring the shorts to life.
Your Sea Creatures IPA inspired last year's Fair Harbor Collaboration short. Why did you choose the Wave Chaser Trunk this time around?
The Wave Chaser wasn't our first beer style that got us off the ground, but it is certainly our flagship. It has been a hit since we released it, and it's the number one IPA in the Metro New York area. The liquid is phenomenal. Eric Moss, our co-founder and brewmaster, crafted this approachable IPA. If you're just coming off the beach and you just want a flavorful cold beer, Wave Chaser is just the perfect experience. As an added bonus, the purple just really stands out because it's such a clean, classic, and simple style.
Ten years in, Montauk is the top-selling craft brewery in the Metro NY area. That's a big deal! How are you planning to celebrate your 10th anniversary of the brand?
We have a whole host of events. On Thursday, June 30, our actual anniversary of opening our doors, we're going to introduce a limited-release Brew Barn Series beer in partnership with Surfrider Foundation. So we will donate a portion of the proceeds from those sales of that beer with Surfrider, and the money will go to their Long Island, East End Chapter initiatives. The IPA is 6.7% and infused with passionfruit and mango, so it's really light, easy drinking, and something a little special for our tenure. On July 1, we are hosting a beach cleanup with Surfrider and Fair Harbor that will kick off at 10 AM right at the brewery.
But overall, the whole summer will be all about celebrating a return to fun and toasting a decade of fresh beer and good vibes.
For anyone unfamiliar with the brand, how did you start Montauk Brewing Co.?
Me, Eric Moss, and Joe Sullivan, my co-founders, grew up in the small beach town of Montauk, and we were all friends and ocean lifeguards for years. We began home brewing in my basement just after college. It was simple: we put a sticker on a kegerator that said Montauk Brewing Company and held summertime gatherings sharing just a few gallons of beer with friends and family.
We realized there was an opportunity to start a brewery in Montauk to tell the authentic story of this special place through our beer. Our red Montauk taproom building was initially constructed in 1996 by my parents as a woodworking shop, and it lent itself perfectly to brewing. Keeping the craft spirit of the woodworking shop was important, so a craft brewery made perfect sense there. But getting it off the ground wasn't easy. The permits took years of planning alongside the local government, and we had to convince the town that we would not be just another bar. We planned on closing at 8 PM, hosting community events and fundraisers, and manufacturing delicious craft beer in the heart of Montauk.
On June 30, 2012, we loaded the first keg onto a cargo trailer secured to the back of a beach cruiser bike and pedaled up the street to our first draft account – Harvest Restaurant. In 2014 we graduated from draft and started canning the beer as well. The clean, simple branding, the nautical style, and great approachable beer just really threw us into overdrive in the company. That's really when we started to build a brand.
Did you ever imagine founding a brewery?
I think I always had an entrepreneurial spirit, but I just didn't know what that meant at the time. And then we started the brewery, it was just such a natural fit. It's been so much fun to work alongside our small and mighty team. I feel like it must be how a chef feels when they share an unbelievable meal with customers, friends, and family. To drink a beer or eat food somebody else has created is the coolest thing. We take great pride in every Montauk six pack that goes to a party. And we're just very honored that the brand has taken off the way it has.
How did you land on Come As You Are as your motto?
That was born out of the environment of the taproom. When we started the company, we didn't really have a mission statement. Since we opened our doors, we have really listened to the fans and built the brand over time. The motto was meant to welcome whoever you are, wherever you're from, to enjoy Montauk beer and be part of our family. I think it's really helped us grow. The can design appeals to a wide variety of people, and so does our beer. And that is really what Come As You Are means to us. It's just a very approachable, welcoming vibe, and that's just who we are at our core.
Keeping close ties to the Montauk community has been a priority for your brand. What are some ways you protect the environment there?
The beach cleanups are really big for us because we are so ocean-minded here. Growing up in Montauk, the beach is basically like a babysitter! Everyone from here spends as much time as they can at the beach. It's just so important to keep the beaches and the waterways protected so we can continue to enjoy the no-frills good life we have here on the East End of Long Island.