There’s Something Brewing in Queens
by Kathleen Lees
From the outside, 19-33 37th Street looks like just another warehouse, but inside it’s producing the borough’s newest brew. Richard Buceta left the job security and comfort of an almost 20-year career in the advertising world to start SingleCut Beersmiths.
It was December 2007 and Buceta was on a two-week Christmas vacation when he came to the sudden realization that he wasn’t going back to his job. He didn’t like the way the advertising industry was being run and told his wife he was leaving the “fat paycheck behind.” “You only live once,” he said, but was afraid because “I didn’t have a plan B.”
As an avid home brewer for over 10 years, beer was always on his mind, but he didn’t think that he could turn his passion for craft beer into a career. For roughly a month after quitting his job, Buceta sat at home and watched his wife go to work every day while he began to turn their home into a laboratory filled with beer-making equipment. His wife was always supportive of his life-altering decision, but Buceta admitted that she was growing tired of having her living space turned into a mini-brewery.
After two-and-a-half months, Buceta got a job at a local brewery
in Brooklyn. He won them over by bringing samples of his own beer from perfected recipes, and he recalls having to work his way back up a new corporate ladder. On the lowest rung of the ladder in the advertising world, you make the coffee; on the lowest rung of the ladder in the brewing world, you clean out the kegs.
One day Buceta was doing the manual work and thought “I’m really foolish.” “I let my heart dictate my life over my mind,” he said. Frustrated, Buceta decided to start his own brewery.
On December 8, Single Cut Beersmiths opened its taps to the public for the first time, serving over 1,200 thirsty patrons. Soon, they’ll be able to buy SingleCut beers – there’s currently five different kinds – in their favorite bar.
“I’m thrilled,” he said. “I consider myself lucky, and I’ve never worked harder in my life.
With a nod to his love of music, the name SingleCut comes from a type of Les Paul guitar. The tap room, which is open to the public on a limited basis Thursday through Saturday, has guitar-shaped taps and a stage.
There’s currently seven people working at the brewery. “We wear many hats,” Buceta said. “There are no weak links in the chain.”
One member of that chain is Mark Muecke, who is head of sales. It was three years ago that he decided to change his career path as well, started as an intern at Greenpoint Beer Works, where he met Buceta, who shared his vision for starting his own brewery. The two hit it off, and when Buceta asked him to oversee sales for SingleCut, Muecke jumped at the chance and hasn’t regretted it.
“Because we’re a small company, there is no bureaucracy,” he said. “There is no one cracking the whip, you do your job and you do it well.”
At the grand opening, visitors had the chance to see the space where the beer is brewed up close. “I think this is cooler than the Brooklyn Brewery,” said Brooklyn transplant and Sunnyside resident Darin Roberts, who said SingleCut has “more of a raw feeling.”
When asked what he sees in the future for the growing brewery, Muecke said, “lots of beer, lots of parties, and lots of hangovers.”
The tap room will be open to the public every Thursday and Friday from 5 to 8 p.m., and Saturdays from
12 to 6 p.m.
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