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Dyckman Beer Company Hopes to Put Uptown on the Brewery Map

By Nigel Chiwaya | June 3, 2013 9:43am
  Owner Juan Camilo takes the wraps off the Dyckman Beer Co., which will begin selling brews this summer.
Dyckman Beer Company Readies for Launch
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NORTHERN MANHATTAN — A new uptown brewery is joining the city's crowded beer market.

The Dyckman Beer Company is coming this summer to Dyckman Street, long a major player for restaurants and nightclubs.

Founded last fall, the brewery has been operating in stealth mode over the past few months. But with the official launch a little more than a month away, owner Juan Camilo sat down with DNAinfo New York and took the wraps off his ambitious play to give uptown beer representation.

"I think it's time everyone starts to know," Camilo, 27, said. "It's a new-generation beer."

The company's flagship beer is the Dyckman Brew, a pilsner that will be available year-round and is comparable to a Stella Artois or Presidente, Camilo said. Next year the company will add the Highbridge Summer Ale, which is infused with cherries, vanilla and a hint of mint, and the wine-barrel fermented Epoca.

The flavors all translate back to Camilo's time in the Dominican Republic, where he lived until he was 6 years old.

"Everything is inspired by my culture," said Camilo, who now lives in the Mott Haven neighborhood of The Bronx but has family scattered along Dyckman Street and Audubon Avenue.

The idea for the brewery came during Hurricane Sandy, while Camilo was stuck at home and unable to commute to his job in the Financial District. During that time he picked up a newspaper and read an article about craft breweries in New York City.

"They talked about creating the Brooklyn brand, Single Cut in Queens, and Staten Island had two breweries there, but there was a big, big chunk of New York City missing that did not have their own beer to represent it," Camilo said. "This is an underserved area. Unless we do our thing no one else will."

That spark led Camilo to research creating his own brewery, and he spent months locating and cold-calling more than 60 brew masters from as far away as Maine and Georgia.

Camilo has dedicated himself to making the dream come true, selling his Mott Haven apartment and spending "a lot of money" on the project. He linked up with brew masters in New England, where his beer is produced, and hired a creative team he meets with once a week.

And with cases of beer ready for shipping, Camilo plans to distribute throughout Harlem, Washington Heights, Inwood and The Bronx.

When asked why the Bronx resident chose Dyckman as the name of his beer company, Camilo said that Dyckman Street has become a rallying point of Dominicans.

"Dyckman has evolved. It's a symbol toward our prosperity, to where we're going," he said. "It's a great place where great things are happening."

The logo of the company will depict the High Bridge, which connects The Bronx and Manhattan and brings together two of the biggest Dominican populations in the country.

Word has slowly been getting out about the Dyckman Beer Company, as it has just recently started becoming active on Twitter and Instagram. Reactions to the company's posts have been overwhelmingly positive, which Camilo said drives him to work even harder to make something that uptown can be proud of.

"This is something that represents my people," Camilo said. "So I'm going to give everything I have and more."