Brian M. Sckipp
(BA, Speech-Language Pathology, ’96)
Q & A:
- What was your favorite class, who was your favorite professor, or what is your fondest memory of Hofstra?
While I had many exceptional teachers in speech, language pathology, and audiology, there was an outstanding professor who sparked my interest in pursuing English studies and education. Professor Kroll, British literature: He was highly educated and he broadened my knowledge of the literature. Reading Canterbury Tales in his class and discussing Chaucer’s literary elements truly inspired me. I enjoyed his analysis of the literature, and he always encouraged intelligent and spirited discourse in his class discussions.
- What was your first job after graduating from Hofstra, and what was the most valuable thing learned in that position?
I began a teaching career in Kings Park, New York. After a brief two years there, I began a career I still enjoy in the William Floyd School District. As a teacher, confidence I built at Hofstra translated to confidence in the classroom. I learned how to give presentations, keep student interest, and inspire students to raise the bar. While teaching, I learned the value of taking risks. Confident in my ability to garner interest and create, I embarked on two business ventures. First, I partnered and functioned as the chief operating officer at a Long Island Vineyard. Currently, I am a founder and CEO of Westhampton Beach Brewing Co.
- What is your field of specialty, and how did you come to work in the industry?
Building a business through cultivating relationships, being organized, being present, and sheer will and determination has brought me where I am today. As to entering the industry, my wife likes to say, “We went on a wine tasting tour and Brian never came home.” In the early 2000s while scouting a location for a brewery, I found myself engaged in conversation with a fledging vineyard owner. After demonstrating that I had some rudimentary wine knowledge and proving that I could speak intelligently about the product, I was offered an opportunity to partner with them and take over operations. I worked with them for several years before selling my interests and moving on toward the original dream.
- What advice would you give Hofstra students?
Hofstra University has provided you with an education that is second to none. Be confident in your education and have pride in your work. My education at Hofstra has been a source of pride for me. I am eager to let people know where I received my education when asked. So proud of my Hofstra background am I that we recently released a new product with colors you should recognize and a name that shouts out to the old timers, like me. Keep an eye out in the pub or market for Flying Dutchman by Westhampton Beach Brewing Company!
- In one word, how would you describe Hofstra?
- What is a typical day like for a CEO at Westhampton Beach Brewing Company?
There is no typical day at Westhampton Beach Brewing Co. As a new business owner, I find myself engaged in every facet. While I take on traditional roles as a CEO such as making projections, budgeting, and overseeing distribution, advertising, and growth, you will still see me behind the bar, pouring a pint, making a sales call or a delivery. I find it particularly important to sit with our friendly and loyal patrons to get their feedback and to let them know who we are as a company.
- What led you to make the decision to start your own company?
I may have been inspired by a sibling who had started his own business when he was young. My business partner and I have known each other since our youth and have always envisioned using our combined skills and knowledge to build a successful business.
- What is your favorite part of your job?
The people and watching the business grow. I enjoy watching the growth model we created come to fruition. I have to admit it is pretty exciting to see our product ordered in a restaurant or taken off the shelf at a supermarket.
- Where do you see Westhampton Beach Brewing Company in 10 years?
As a household name. Why not?
Brian Sckipp is the CEO and founding member of Westhampton Beach Brewing Company and former COO and partner of Sherwood House Vineyards. Brian’s goal in forming Westhampton Beach Brewing Company was to create a premium craft brand on Long Island while remaining true to important core values. The brewery was established in 2016, with an official opening on July 1, 2018. The brewery sits in a 4800-square-foot industrial building in the Hampton Business District, and includes a tasting room and outdoor seating area.
Brian and partners are determined to build a business based on philanthropy and human spirit. WHBBC hopes to create a sustainable flow of support for Long Islanders who have found themselves in a time of need. Notable charitable work to date has included working with the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, The Boys and Girls Club of America, local food banks, and The Moriches Bay Project, which strives to repopulate the oyster beds of Long Island’s South Shore.
In addition to being a business owner, Brian has worked as a high school teacher for over 20 years. He serves as a mentor in the high school division of Future Business Leaders of America. Recently, the Suffolk County Small Business Association recognized him for his early success with Westhampton Beach Brewing Co. In March 2020 at Nassau Coliseum, the professional lacrosse team Long Island Riptide recognized Brian and his wife, Amy, as Hometown Heroes for their charitable work and contributions to education.
Brian’s greatest pride is being a father to two wonderful daughters, Keira and Caroline.