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Craft Beer Business Booms Alongside Popular Wineries On Long Island

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Long Island wine is known worldwide, but now there's a new kid on the block and it's not a new vintage, it's beer.

As CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reported, the craft beer business on Long Island is booming.

Beer is flowing in the heart of wine country. Long Island's East End is the new hot spot for handcrafted beer.

"You can mass produce chocolate chip cookies or you can have grandma's recipe. We are using all the good stuff here," Dan Burke, co-owner of the Long Ireland Brewing Company, explained.

Burke traded in a job repairing oil burners to create craft brews. His Riverhead based 'Long Ireland' stocks restaurants, bars, and supermarkets.

Down the block, Crooked Ladder is among Long Island's two-dozen micro-breweries, and it's about to be joined by a dozen more.

"What we have seen is this explosive growth of craft beer that these breweries open and within a year or two they can't make enough liquid to keep up with demand," craft beer marketing expert with EGC Group, Jim McCune explained.

Customers are willing to spend a third more for an affordable luxury.

Deli owner turned brew master Duffy Griffiths said small batch ingredients create fuller flavor.

"We use Long Island water. The best for making great beer," he explained.

Wine makers said they welcome the newcomers. It attracts more tourists and provides 'something for everyone.'

Farmers have also been riding the wave as independent breweries buy local when grains and hops are in season.

Microbrewers say they've created a taste that is unlike mass-produced beer.

In a $110-billion beer industry, New York microbrews aren't tapping out the big names, but with 4 percent of the market, they're on the rise one pint at a time.

Long Island's 'Craft Beer Week' kicked off on Friday, with special events at local breweries and many restaurants.

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