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Rent Spike Forces KelSo Beer Co. to Leave Clinton Hill

After falling victim to a massive rent hike, the brewery looks to find a new home

For ten years, KelSo Beer Co. has operated its brewery out of their space at 529 Waverly Avenue in Clinton Hill, but after a $10,000/month rent spike, the company is being forced to find a home elsewhere, reports Fort Greene Focus (h/t DNAinfo).

The craft brewery originally had plans to lease their space through October 2017, but owners Kelly Taylor and wife Sonya Giacobbe opted to leave a year early to save money on rent—with the increase projected to cost them an extra $120,000 just for another year.

In a meeting with their landlord, Fred Sanders of Sanders Studio, Taylor said it was made it clear that Sanders had other plans for the space and saw an opportunity for him to land a tenant that could pay retail rent rather than manufacturing rent. His plans to redevelop the two-story building, using his five additional floors of air rights, was the main reason behind the microbrewery’s rent spike from $20,000 to $30,000/month. Signing a new lease wasn’t even an option for KelSo.

"We’ve gone through a lot of different stages of denial and grief. We were trying to make it work, but if you really look at it, we just can’t run this business in the neighborhood anymore," said Taylor. He highlighted that Fort Greene and Clinton Hill have become highly retail and residential focused, noting two residential projects underway on the same block as his brewery. "[R]ealistically there’s no room for manufacturing in that area," he said.

The owners are now looking towards the Bronx where they can rent similar-sized manufacturing space for around $10,000 a month—half of what they are currently paying in Clinton Hill. Taylor also has his sights set on other Brooklyn neighborhoods like East New York, Brooklyn Navy Yard, and Southern Brooklyn for other projects. Until then, KelSo will partner up with other local breweries like Gun Hill Brewing Company and Chelsea Craft Brewing to continue crafting for the local community while collaborating on new flavors with the breweries that are lending a helping hand during their time of transition.

They will remain at Waverly Place through July and August and will move out by September 1st.