|Exterior of industrial park units|
An odyssey of sorts is coming to an end for Pinelands Brewing, a South Jersey brewery project that's been on the drawing board since 2010.
Founder Jason Chapman says the 1-barrel brewery he's planning to launch has the green light to move into a 1,000-square-foot unit in an Ocean County light industrial park, ending a siting process that's taken Jason and his project partner, Luke McCooley, through three or four counties.
The search has led the two from Egg Harbor City in Atlantic County, to Belleplain in Cape May County, and now to Little Egg Harbor Township, a bayfront town at the southern tip of Ocean County.
Little Egg Harbor officials have been receptive to the project. Late last year the town's planning board gave its blessing, granting approval for a manufacturing business that the town does not list as a permitted use in its code book.
|Jason weighs some specialty grain|
That approval, on top of settling on a location, represents fresh momentum for Pinelands Brewing, whose application to the state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control for a production brewery license has been pending for for nearly a year. (The application to state regulators is dated April 9, 2012.)
"Though it's taken a long time to get to this point, it's been worth the wait, just dealing with the different towns," Jason says.
Little Egg Harbor officials seemed the most agreeable to having a brewery in town, he says.
"We've gotten positive feedback. Our approval was unanimous, and they took a guy to task for a pool and shed project, and a (planning) board member voted against that," Jason says.
So a key hurdle has been jumped.
Now the task shifts to getting inside the building and turning it into a brewery so it can be inspected by regulators and licensed. "The landlord said we could move in February 15th," Jason says.
In the meantime, he says, a web page is being built, and paperwork with federal and state regulators will be given some new attention.