Best friends since the age of 12, Paul Halayko and Christopher Basso went to high school and college together but pursued very different paths early in their careers. Halayko took a business path, becoming an accountant and eventually a CPA working for JP Morgan Chase Bank, while Basso entered the hospitality industry, becoming a brewer at Brooklyn Brewery. But, as friends often do, when Basso decided he wanted to start his own business, he reached out to Halayko and asked if he was interested in joining him. The timing was right and Halayko agreed; together with Halayko’s uncle Charlie Benedetti, they formed a partnership in 2011 to create the Newburgh Brewing Company.
The partners all grew up in Washingtonville, New York, just 15 miles from Newburgh and strongly believed in the potential for the revival of the city. “We liked the idea that we could be part of an overall renaissance of the city,” said Halayko.
Basso serves as the brewmaster, with Benedetti directing sales efforts. Halayko is the company’s president and oversees operations, finance and accounting, and marketing and public relations.
NYBDC’s favorable reputation with banks and its stability as a lender were appealing to the partners as they looked for financial support to establish the brewery. “With a project of our size and high risk potential, NYBDC’s participation is almost required by banks,” Halayko said. “And we know NYBDC has a strong history of helping small businesses succeed in New York, so it seemed like an ideal partnership.”
JP Morgan Chase Bank provided a $1,165,400 first mortgage and Empire State CDC provided an $836,000 second mortgage. The funds were used to purchase an existing 20,000-square-foot manufacturing building in Newburgh’s East End Historic District and to finance renovations and purchase of machinery and equipment. Antonio Vinciguerra of JP Morgan Chase Bank and Cedric Carter of NYBDC handled the financing.
"Small businesses are the growth engine of our economy, and access to capital is a critical component of their success,” Antonio Vinciguerra of JP Morgan Chase Bank said. “We are pleased to partner with NYBDC and help businesses like the Brewing Co. to advance the overall revitalization of Newburgh.” The renovations included converting a former three-bay garage into a cold storage area for beer. The brewing operations are housed on the first and second floors; the third floor contains offices, storage and the kitchen, and the taproom and restaurant – which feature breathtaking views of the Hudson River – are on the fourth floor.
“The 504 loan provided our borrower with attractive terms generally not available through traditional financing, especially for a start-up company,” said Carter. “In addition, the project meets the SBA policy goal by being located in a Newburgh revitalization district.”
“Working with Cedric through this process was fantastic,” said Halayko. “This was a new venture for us but his expertise, patience and knowledge were obvious. NYBDC’s experience really was evident throughout the process.”
The brewery, which began production in April 2012, sells to 40 distributors in the Hudson Valley and Tri-State region and currently produces nine different beers. Newburgh Brewing employs a full-time taproom manager and 20 part-time employees.