Most who grow up near New York City dream of trading their suburban life for the big city. Chris Basso and Paul Halayko, however, were unlike the average suburbanites: The two 31-year-old Washingtonville, N.Y., natives found their dreams not in the big city, but in their home county, Orange. More specifically, they found their dreams in a 160-year-old paper-box factory along the Hudson River in Newburgh, N.Y., 55 miles north of New York City.
Basso, who had been a brewer at the Brooklyn brewery, and Halyako, who had been working in finance, teamed up with Chris Benedetti, who also had a background in finance. The three then set their eyes on Newburgh to start their brewery, Newburgh Brewing Company.
Although Basso asserts that he always had his heart set on brewing in Newburgh, he says that the main thing that drew him upstate was the affordability. Financial realities are a crucial point for a young business. Basso says: “if you were to transplant this exact building and everything that goes with it to Brooklyn… it would’ve been so far out of reach, it would not have been feasible.” But his city-savvy dexterity should pay off, as he believes that “…if you have a little bit of vision and a little bit of money you can come in, take an existing structure and turn it into something.” After all, think of how Williamsburg and Bushwick were before they developed: filled with warehouses and factories, sure — but with lots of potential.