A Booze-Buying Pro Tells Us Which Local Wineries, Cideries and Breweries to Visit


Steven Baird opened Clinton Hill’s Cardiff Giant as managing partner after working as a beer buyer at the Owl Farm.

In our upcoming travel issue, we profile newly opened Clinton Hill bar Cardiff Giant. Unlike the bar’s name, which refers to a famous 1860s hoax in which a Cardiff, NY-based man commissioned and buried a towering statue that some believed to be an actual petrified person, their all-New York beverage selection is no joke.

We asked their managing partner Steven Baird, a former beer buyer at Owl Farm and the mastermind behind their menu, to share his favorite New York wineries, breweries and cideries to visit. Hopefully you can check these out on your next trip upstate or out east.

The Finger Lakes

Finger Lakes Cider House

This is a very cool shared tasting room for some of the top producers in the Finger Lakes region. It’s run by Melissa Madden her partner Garret Miller; they’re also the producers of Good Life Cider. The permanently featured producers are: Good Life Cider, Black Diamond Cider, Eve’s Cidery, Redbyrd Orchard Cider, South Hill Cider.

The Hudson Valley

Suarez Family Brewing

Run by Dan Suarez, who most recently spent time as an assistant brewery at Vermont’s Hill Farmstead. They’ll be making yeast-forward farmhouse ales, some sours, crisp pilsners and other interesting one-offs.

Hudson Valley Brewery

Opening late this summer in Beacon, Hudson Valley Brewing is run by the two former brewmasters at The Brewery at Bacchus. They’ll be focusing on wild yeast, barrel fermentation and blending. Expect lots of sour beers.

Industrial Arts Brewing

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Friday beers

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Headed up by Jeff O’Neil, formerly head brewer at Peekskill and Ithaca Brewing Company. He’s the creator of modern classics like Ithaca Flower Power and Peekskill Amazeballs. This will be a large operation focusing on fresh, hoppy beers in cans and on draft. Opening late summer.

Long Island

We sell a lot of Long Island wine at Cardiff Giant. We like to focus on small, environmentally conscious wineries that highlight native yeasts and interesting methods. Some of our favorites are: Macari Vineyards, Channing Daughters, Shinn Estates Vineyards & Farmhouse.