Kidd Squid Brewing Company opened their doors in the heart of Sag Harbor last July at 11 Spring Street. Since there was no existing brewery in Sag Harbor, Rory McEvoy and Gráinne Coen saw the perfect opportunity to fill that gap and bring their dream into conception. Coming up on one year since their opening, they are looking forward to a busy Hamptons summer where they’ll continue to invite locals and visitors alike to enjoy the whimsical tasting room for some of their many esteemed brews.
Rory started with home brewing several years back, but professionally he had been in experiential marketing his whole life. He says, “The pandemic let me focus on brewing a lot more. It allowed me to fast track that nascent idea of starting a brewing company.”
Kidd Squid puts a big emphasis on using locally sourced ingredients. Rory says, “Kidd Squid is all about the most delicious beer made as sustainably as possible. We are also about community and collaboration, not just with other simpatico businesses like Dreamy Coffee Co., Grindstone Coffee & Donuts, and Dragon Hemp, but also institutions from Parrish to Guildhall and the Church to Bay Street. All great things coming soon.”
Their brewing process, however, is a little less straight forward than they originally intended. They are not able to brew on premises yet, so Kidd Squid brews out of other local breweries where they have formed great connections. The vast amount of brewing they do currently takes place at übergeek in Riverhead, where they put their equipment, and North Fork Brewing Co., where their original farm manufacturing license got based. Rory says, “Rob at übergeek and Peter at North Fork have been incredible partners for us, and we have exciting developments with both of them soon.”
When it comes to crafting, Rory has base recipes from constantly testing and getting a track record now that Kidd Squid is commercial and widespread. He says, “For ingredients we start with what can we get with the least gas to get it here. I reject the notion that you need to source from Germany, for example, to get good grain. It’s cheaper, fine, but that should take a backseat to the larger priority of local sourcing.”
Rory declares that every beer they craft is his favorite, and went on to say, “I guess whatever the newest beer we have is my favorite, if you press me on it.” Kidd Squid is becoming known for thinking outside of the box across the board with each element from their name (a combination of historical and familial references) to their three-eyed squid logo (designed by McEvoy), and of course the brews themselves. Notably, they have a moon series where they brew and release on the full moons, and each brew is an iteration on the theme of local ingredient hazy IPAs. Rory spoke about their newest March beer, Crow Moon, that’s out now, “[Crow Moon] is ‘East End Everything’—the grain is from Foster Farm, and hops from Condzella and Rte.27 Hopyard, respectively. That’s a good beer you can locally drink local.”
When asked what makes Kidd Squid unique and irreplicable from any other brewing company, Rory said, “Crow Moon for sure doesn’t have ANY analogues. Nobody commercially released an awesome beer made entirely with local ingredients to the east end. Other than that, we are notably the only three-eyed squid-brewery anywhere in the world.”
Something else that sets Kidd Squid apart from the masses is their beautiful and detailed designs, including the art on their cans. Rory designs all the cans himself, and he expressed how much he loves them and frets over them all. He says, “There’s nothing like a deadline to force a commitment to a design that could otherwise iterate forever, and something is definitely to be said about the cool calculus of market response. We have been, since inception, on a maximalist bent—layers and layers of design, generally. And we are now into metallic printing, which is technically more difficult but looks great on the shelf. Though with deadlines on designs looming daily, I can’t help but envy the cookie cutter styles of other breweries.”
As for the atmosphere at Kidd Squid, Rory mentioned it’s really the people who make the atmosphere. “We set the stage with a pink, elegant and whimsical Sag Harbor-worthy decor, as built out of the old train station that we exist in,” he says, “but it’s the people that make the mood. We have international folks at the top of their respective fields hanging out, we have the local guy side-hustling blues he caught that morning, young families, old families, mayors, geezers, influencers, A-Listers, and the odd comedian. We are lucky to have all of them through our doors.”
Rory and Gráinne lived in Shelter Island before ending up in Sag Harbor. They fell in love with the year-round nature of the town and all its wonderful people. They have two young sons in elementary school, and he says, “They are our anchor-locals. I’m vice president of the Chamber of Commerce, my wife ran and won a seat on the school board here. We are all in here.”
At Kidd Squid, they especially love how the East End customers embrace their mission. Rory noted that there are so many more like-minded East Enders than he knew existed. More and more bars and restaurants in the Hamptons are carrying Kidd Squid’s beers each day. Their brews can be found in most of Sag Harbor establishments starting with Sen, then K Pasa, Sag Pizza, the Green Room, the American Hotel, Corner Bar, Lulu’s, and Beacon. Rory says, “It will be everyone that matters by end of year.” They have extended beyond Sag Harbor and are featured at Almond in Bridgehampton, Fresno is East Hampton, Bell & Anchor in Noyack, Manna by the canal. And Kidd Squid is just around the corner from making their way to Southampton establishments.
There are also a mix of beer stores and bars from the Hamptons to Brooklyn and Manhattan that carry Kidd Squid. Soon they will be overseas as well, and Rory says of their distribution, “Once our new distro division Mutual Assured Distribution starts in earnest, we should be somewhat ubiquitous, or at least that’s the best laid plans of mice and men.” They were even able to represent Sag Harbor in London recently, which Rory said, “felt like this was real and not just the nicest dream ever.”
Aside from running operations at the brewing company daily, Rory loves all the nature the East End has to offer. He enjoys the ocean, bay, and hikes in the woods with his wife, kids, and dogs
Since Kidd Squid opened to the public in July of the 2022 summer season, they didn’t get the full experience of running a business in the Hamptons during the summer months. It’s something they look forward to in 2023 as they invite everyone over to drink some of the freshest, best tasting, local brews around!
For more information about Kidd Squid, their current menu, and tasting room hours, visit https://kiddsquid.com.