New Kid on the Block: Torch & Crown Brewing Company

I’ve been remiss in writing up a very close neighbor in Soho — the first brewery to open in Manhattan since the mid-90s. Torch & Crown Brewing Company has crafted a very pretty industrial setting out of a commercial building on Vandam and Sixth, with the tanks all polished up in the middle of the soaring space, but it also has what I would call a covid perk: the empty lot next door is now converted into a beer garden, and I am not sure how they did it but there were actual breezes coming through the tent on Thursday night. (I first went in December and while it was still great to be curbside at a brewery within walking distance, I thought they deserved another visit before I wrote this up.)

The idea is traced back to a moment 15 years ago, when founders Joe Correia and John Dantzler were in a bar in the East Village as teenagers and were busted for having fake IDs. They were beerless and sad so they bought a homebrew kit to DIY. The first batch exploded in Dantzler’s mother’s kitchen, but they eventually got the hang of it.

They took the show on the road in 2017 with a canning and brewing facility in the Bronx, knowing the would eventually move the operations into town (the Bronx already has a brewery, which I also love). After looking at 150 places, they secured the space on Vandam with plans to open in March 2020. You know how that went. But they did a significant pivot and started delivering beer direct to the consumer in their own cars, as a skeleton crew in the Bronx continued to crank out cases.

It worked. Since March 17, 2020, they have made 7000 deliveries, and that got them through. They were able to open the new brewery in October 2020. (By coincidence, the last Manhattan brewery — Manhattan Brewing Company — was also in Soho, on Thompson and Broome. And the brew master was Garrett Oliver, who would go on to found Brooklyn Brewery. Serious Eats has a good post on the tangled history of it all here. And if you want to go way back, you’ll have to head uptown to the Germans in Yorkville in the 19th Century.)

The beer is great — I don’t like mine too boozy, but I always want an IPA, so I stick to the Look Up or the New Zealand Pale Ale called Welcome Back. But you can’t go wrong with the Almost Famous, which has the statue in skull mode as a logo. (The can art is pretty fab.)

I am more than happy to drink and snack, and the noshing foods are reliable. This week we had the charred snap peas with bacon, the tomato salad and the cod fritters — all very satisfying. In fact, neither of us were there for the beer on this particular occasion (they also sell wine and booze as well as to-go cans) and we left happy.

Even if you are not a beer drinker, it’s worth a stroll over the border to welcome this scrappy, creative newcomer.

Torch & Crown Brewing Company
12 Vandam | Sixth and Varick
Monday – Wednesday: 12 to 10p
Thursday and Friday: 12 to 11p
Saturday: 11a to 11p
Sunday: 11a to 8p



1 Comment

  1. Western Spirit at 425 Broadway is closing, and they are holding an auction on Monday. There is also an online auction.