Big Z Beverage
Ratings: 42 | Reviews: 37 | Display Reviews Only:
4.85/5 rDev +8.5%
quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
As the best beer distributors are consistently improving, I think it's necessary to provide an update for Mark and Big Z on this site.
Big Z has been transformed, in a very short time, from a conventional beer store to one of Long Island's (and New York's) best places to get beer. There is a growler-fill station with five taps, and that will be increased to ten sometime this year. Mark keeps the selection varied by style, season and region, although the choices are usually American (no problem there).
The bottle selection is really quite good - Big Z has at least as much store space as its biggest competitors, and there is a huge selection of American and especially Belgian beers. Typically there are at least ten interesting choices, and there are always good discoveries. The mixed-six pack selection is also very good, and sometimes an exceptional value.
But the best part of Big Z is, to me, Mark's dedication to beer and his customers. Further to that end, Mark has a strong ability to organize great events. A couple of weeks ago Big Z hosted a great Captain Lawrence event, which went down as well as anyone expected. Scott Vaccaro brought down some great stuff and it flew off the table. Big Z also has an email list that provides updates on store happenings and selection.
Basically as other reviewers have said, if you live in Northport/Commack/Greenlawn/Huntington, this is your best choice. If you don't, it's still a great choice. Quit figuring out how much it costs for the train/taxi ride and come to the events, and definitely take a ride over to check out what's on the shelves and growler-fill. Big Z has a lot of dedicated customers for a reason.
01-20-2009 16:51:43 | More by rasta16ry
4.5/5 rDev +0.7%
quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
In my opinion, this is the best beer store on LI. It is pretty awesome. The owner, Mark, is constantly bringing in new beers, including crazy rare beers that no one else on LI can get. For that alone, it is worth coming here! Apart from rare stuff, the selection is pretty typical for the area. Not as huge a selection (especially in the Belgian section) as Shoreline, but turnover is better. Recently, they just got in a bunch of Norrebro/Nogne/Mikkeller beers, some of which cannot be purchased anywhere else on LI. There is a growler station that has 4-5 taps on (Captain Lawrence Captain's Reserve IIPA is pretty much a mainstay; it seems to always be on). Mark is always looking for suggestions for taps and will try to get what he can. Prices are comparable with others in the area, maybe slightly cheaper but it's variable. Mark has done great things for the store in the last year that I've been coming here and I am consistently amazed by what he is able to bring in. This place keeps getting better and better and it is definitely worth a visit.
12-29-2008 21:32:45 | More by LilBeerDoctor
4.5/5 rDev +0.7%
quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | $$
Been here a number of times.
A great selection of American beers (locals/regionals like Southern Tier, Ithaca, Southampton, as well as others such as Goose Island, Hair of the Dog Green Flash) with a small but powerful Belgian selection (Bernardus, Rochefort, Gouden Carolus, the like). Growler selection is probably the best in the county with typically 5 taps running from breweries like Captain Lawrence, Smuttynose, Allagash, Southampton, Legacy, Sixpoint...
Not really anything in bottles here that you couldn't buy over at Shoreline, but whenever possible, the prices will be a bit cheaper ($1 on many items, sometimes $2 on big hitters), and certainly much cheaper than overpriced Superstar. Also a sale rack to keep inventory moving and if you want to try out some semi-aged brews.
Owner Mark always looking to chat, get suggestions for bottles, or particularly for growler options. Treats his customers well with occasional freebies/discounts as well.
Big place that will hopefully be able to keep expanding its selection.
09-10-2008 16:25:29 | More by fredandboboflo
4.3/5 rDev -3.8%
quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
I visited Big Z on the strength of some recommendations on this site as well as local blogs. I was very impressed with the selection and the competence of the staff. The store was well organized and clean.
An additional half point was added to selection for having Coopers of Australia which I can't seem to find anywhere in NY. I also added an additional half point for the staff being to direct me to the Coopers without question.
The prices were reasonable, certainly not bargain basement, but not exorbitant. They also indicate that they will search to get what you want and have sent me two emails letting me know about new styles they received.
Some bottles in the singles area were a little long in the tooth so only a four for quality.
02-12-2008 22:57:09 | More by ntorch
4.65/5 rDev +4%
quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
I just moved into the area and i have to say Big Z is probably one of the best beer stores on long Island.I am a beer lover and I searched the area to find a store that could introduce me to new products. I found that they were much more knowledgeable of their products then Superstar and other local competition. The second i walked in I was amazed at the selection. I got a chance to talk to Mark (owner) and I just found out he recently bought the place. His knowledge of everything in this store is unbelievable. Hes a very nice guy and knows how to talk to the customer . He told me that if he didn't have a certain type of beer in stock he would do what he could to track it down and find it for me. Thats what made me really enjoy coming to this store which was the fact that he would go out of his way to make the customers happy. I recommend checking this place out and I will definetly be going there as often as possible.
12-28-2007 04:56:19 | More by Robiscool25
4.65/5 rDev +4%
quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
I go there because I like the HUGE selection of beer Mark (Owner) has to offer, If you need a particular brew Mark will find it, the selection keeps growing every time I stop in. That atmosphere is a very different feel than most Beer Distributors it is more like going to your local Beer Grower ! When you walk in the door Mark is always there to point out the NEW and sometimes Rare beers that he has acquired. Sometimes in very limited quantities. I give it 4 Beer Glass's ! I just like to visit and see what's new in his inventory and there seems to be quite a big turnaround of stock.
12-10-2007 18:42:32 | More by bessanutz
4/5 rDev -10.5%
quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | $$
The Big Z has a new owner who bought the place in April and seems to have turned the place around with attention being paid to both the quality and the space efficiency. As I walked through the store, I kept noticing nuances and things I had not seen before. Someone had done their homework on providing a good array of imports and micros for the new store. Of course there were a few macro products, but they were blended into the mix over all.
One of the cool things about the new Big Z is the owner himself who is totally hands on and very open to suggestion for improvements to the store.
It doesn't have the depth of Shoreline's selection nor does it have the interesting nuances of Superstar (the local competition), but the Big Z is making a good start on becoming a very good beer store.
06-17-2007 12:40:08 | More by bonbright7
4.5/5 rDev +0.7%
quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | $$$
This place used to boast the largest selection of microbrews on Long Island. However, they have seemed to streamline their stock considering the overall lack of interest in microbrews on Long Island. I think that this was a smart move though when you consider many surrounding distributors are selling old stock. In fact, a few local places are peddling beer from breweries that have been defunct for at least a year.
Overall, a good place to pick up some Stoudt's, Sierra Nevada, Otter Creek, Rogue and Victory. It also has a decent selection of imports.
Update August 26, 2008:
Under new ownership for a few months now. The stock has improved dramatically. Many hard to get 22s in stock. Mark has put in a 5 or 6 tap growler station which is really a centerpiece of the Huntington beer scene.
Mark is very customer friendly and hosts regular beer tastings.
Update December 3, 2008:
The draft system is out of this world. Mark has a constant rotation of six awesome beers on tap - many hard if not impossible to find.
I originally rated Big Z a 3.75 in April 2006.
04-18-2006 03:19:56 | More by plaid75
3.8/5 rDev -15%
quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$$
Stopped in today since it was such a beautiful day, I didn't mind the drive.
Okay, first the bad news. Although there was a time when this place had the best, if worst organized and dustiest, selection in the county. Those days are gone. As you enter, it's really only the right side wall that you'll be focusing on. Some decent stuff: Victory, North Coast, Chimay, and lots of other big names but little you can't get at Shoreline or otherwise locally and most of the prices seemed pretty inflated.
There is good news. I picked out a few singles ( a few semi bargains) and talked to the friendly owner and he confided that he'd be breaking up a lot more sixers and expanding his more reasonably priced individual bottles, especially with the summer coming. I got a 12 oz. bottle of Sam Smith's India Ale for $1.75, which seemed fair. I'll check in again in a month or so and report on how things last. What Long Island really needs in a reasonable place to pick up single bottles, like all those delis on Atlantic Ave. in Brooklyn. Maybe this can be it..
Update as of August 2006. Stopped in several times this summer after work and the single bottle display had indeed increased. Some overpriced but the majority reasonable.
04-03-2006 02:21:57 | More by daliandragon
3.65/5 rDev -18.3%
quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5
Well.... It was in route to John Harvard's and like I said, I was sniffing out Southampton Double Whites... Sadly, none to be found here. Warehouseish in appearance, upon entry you'll find the racks with the kind micros off to the right. They got some pretty good stuff but not a Southampton to be had. Listen, you're in Suffolk, so is Southampton. It should be unlawful for you not to carry Southampton beers. Some of the micros were looking kind of old. They had a few sixes of the New England Light Lager, do I need say more? They did have some of the more popular big bottles (Delirium, Ommegang, etc) and they are filling growlers of the Blue Point Pale Ale, (Brooklyn's) Post Road Pumpkin Ale and the Sam Adams Octo. Not too shabby but they need to relieve themselves of the outdated inventory.
12-06-2003 20:00:29 | More by slander
Big Z Beverage in Huntington, NY
97 out of 100 based on 42 ratings.