Scott Vaccaro’s introduction to home brewing began young—in his junior year of high school. “I first saw a friend’s father home brewing, and shortly later, after much convincing of my parents, I got started home brewing,” says the founder of the popular Captain Lawrence Brewing Company in Elmsford, NY.
He studied fermentation science in college and then launched Captain Lawrence in 2005. And although there are a number of local breweries nowadays, at the time it was novel idea: “It was a pretty new concept for people in our area, but they caught on quickly and have been our biggest supporters,” says Vaccaro. “Bars and restaurants in Westchester and Fairfield were the first places that you could find our beer.”
In fact, he regards selling his first keg (to Lucy’s Lounge in Pleasantville, NY, in 2006) as one of the company’s stand-out moments. The company continued to expand, outgrowing its original Pleasantville facility and moving to a new location in Elmsford in 2011—which also provided the opportunity and space to bottle even more beer. (Moving was another stand-out moment, says Vaccaro.) Today, they have a number of different lines and varieties, the beers are a mainstay on many menus, they have a Beer Hall for tours and tastings and they have collaborated with well-known and much-loved places like Carvel to launch limited editions, like Cookie Puss Milkshake IPA. “Now, I am looking forward to drinking my first pint in our new and greatly expanded Beer Hall that’s currently under construction,” says Vaccaro.
But that’s not all that’s on tap for the company: “First and foremost, we are going to keep brewing new, fun, interesting beers. We have Milkshake IPAs, Smoothie Ale, Pastry Stouts and a slew of other beers on the way that I’m excited to drink and share with our fans,” he explains. And along with expanding the Elmsford facility to allow them to both brew more and offer more for visitors, you’ll be able to find the beer in more places, including Florida.
And while Vaccaro is passionate about beer—“Once I started really learning about beer, all the history behind it, as well as the science involved in making it, I was hooked!” he says—he offers this advice: “Be realistic about what running a successful business means from both a professional and personal level,” he says. “It takes a lot more time and energy than you can imagine—even when you love what you do!”