Image credit: Michael Isabell
Hudson Valley Brewery founder John-Anthony Gargiulo (pronounced “Garjoolo”) was a dolly grip working on major films in LA, on track for promotion to key grip, but he gave up a Hollywood career to return to his native Hudson Valley and start a brewing operation.
There were many reasons, including the grind of working on films he didn’t love (along with two he did love, Ron Howard’s “Frost/Nixon” and Steven Soderbergh’s “The Informant”) and the physical toll of the work.
“The writing was kind of on the wall,” he says. “I started missing my family. I was going through my second back injury…in my early 30s. I was really contemplating the future.”
Despite growing up the area, John-Anthony was unfamiliar with Beacon until his prodigal return.
“I never had a reason to come down here,” he says. “I’m a little ashamed by that. But when I was growing up in the 90s it just wasn’t something 18-year old kids from Highland who worked in apple orchards would do. We just went to New Paltz and Poughkeepsie.”
Friends introduced him to Matt Hutchins, the chef and creative force behind The Hop (RIP). John-Anthony started out washing dishes at The Hop and later became a key member of the team there. It was this experience that woke him up to Beacon’s potential, at a time before Dogwood, The Roundhouse, Quinn’s or other forward-thinking eating and drinking establishments had opened.
John-Anthony’s plans for the brewery came together when he formed a partnership with two brewers in New Paltz – Michael Renganeschi and Jason Synan – and acquired the old factory building at 7 E. Main on the Fishkill Creek just downstream from the roundhouse. The building was in terrible shape.
“We gutted the whole building completely. Still to this day we’re demoing and throwing stuff out and doing construction,” he says. “My father’s been a huge asset. He’s been in construction his whole life and has been helping this project immensely. It’s been wonderful to be restoring it. ‘Let’s save this old factory building and turn it back into a factory.’ That was sort of my battle cry.”
Also in this episode: HVB’s Sour IPAs, selling beer during Covid, the under-appreciated glory of Beacon city council meetings.