The free beer was flowing Saturday as the new owners of Suffolk Beer in East Patchogue celebrated the opening of their second beer distributor in the county.
Neil and Pinky Patel, also the owners of Stop and Save Beverage in East Islip for the past 15 years, took over Suffolk Beer in November — but the warmth and clear skies on Saturday made for better party weather.
The Patels have neatened the place up, added a walk-in cooler and greatly expanded the shop’s craft beer selection, they said.
“We’re getting a good response and people seem excited,” Pinky Patel said.
Their son, Sahil Tapel, 7, helped them cut the ribbon on their new shop at 510 East Main Street, where Congressman Lee Zedlin and a representative of state Senator Tom Croci’s office, Amanda Surber Gonzalez, were also on hand to recognize the Patels’ achievement.
Pinky Patel’s brother, Mike, who owns four beer distributors in Nassau County, took a second with greaterpatchogue.com to reflect on the changes in the beer business during his 23 years — especially with the rise of the craft beer industry.
“In 1993 we would stack 300 cases of Pete’s Wicked, now we don’t have a single case,” he said. “Some brands survive, some don’t. Sam Adams, Sierra Nevada and Anchor Steam survived from those days, but all the rest are gone.
“Now IPA is the hot beer. And the younger generation, whether it’s food, drink, or fashion, they’re willing to pay for quality. With our generation, it was all about volume.”