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KelSo Beer Co. Leaving Clinton Hill at End of Summer Due to Rising Rent

 KelSo Beer Co. will be leaving Clinton Hill at the end of the summer.
KelSo Beer Co. will be leaving Clinton Hill at the end of the summer.
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Facebook/KelSo Beer Co.

CLINTON HILL — KelSo Beer Co. plans to leave Clinton Hill by the end of summer due to rising rents, its owner said. 

The brewery, which has been at 529 Waverly Ave. for 10 years, will move out by Sept. 1, co-founder Kelly Taylor said Tuesday.

He said the brewery’s lease was originally scheduled to end in October of next year, but the company, which he owns with wife Sonya Giacobbe, will be leaving a year early to save on rent as it looks at more affordable locations in The Bronx. 

“We’ve gone through a lot of different stages of denial and grief,” he said. “We were trying to make it work, but if you really looked at it, we just can’t run this business in the neighborhood anymore.”

The news was first reported by Fort Green Local

Taylor said he met with landlord Fred Sanders, of event space Sanders Studio at 525 Waverly Ave., to discuss the future of the brewery. Sanders indicated he planned to use his five additional floors of air rights to redevelop the two-story building, increasing the brewery’s rent going forward, Taylor said.

“Our landlord was pretty clear he had other plans for the space,” Taylor said. “We’re built as a microbrewery and he’s going to need more of a brewpub kind of thing, which can pay more retail rent than manufacturing rent.” 

Sanders was not immediately available for comment, but Taylor said lease negotiations were amicable. 

KelSo is currently paying $20,000 in rent, but would have to pay $30,000 to extend the lease for another year, Taylor said. As for signing a new lease, he said the brewery didn’t even consider what the cost would be.

“It wasn’t really on the table,” Taylor noted.

As for the future, he said he is looking at similarly sized manufacturing locations in The Bronx that he can rent for just $10,000.

In the meantime, KelSo will continue to distribute beer to local bars and stores in the New York area through partnerships with other nearby breweries like Chelsea Craft Brewing and Gun Hill Brewing Company. 

KelSo will continue making the same signature flavors, as well as working on a few new recipes with partner breweries.

But until it finds a new space, the brewery will likely scale back on small batch beers for bars and restaurants, Taylor added.

“I’ll be working hard to make sure that the quality is there and the production keeps going,” he said.