Cumberland County is in line for a second craft brewery, and the Delaware River & Bay Authority could be getting its second brewery tenant.
Glasstown Brewing is a project in early development by Justin Arenberg and Paul Simmons, two homebrewers looking to turn commercial with plans for a 3- to 7-barrel production brewery and tasting room to go into a 2,800-square-foot hangar on the grounds of the Millville airport.
The hangar, located a bottle cap's throw from the Millville Army Air Field Museum, was home to P-47 Thunderbolt fighter planes during World War II. Most recently it has been used to store a Korean War-era Army ambulance and a restored 2 1/2-ton World War II Army transport truck.
The property itself is owned the Delaware River & Bay Authority, which also operates the airport and owns the Cape May airport property in Lower Township, where Cape May Brewing calls home.
Glasstown would join Turtle Stone Brewing, located about eight miles north in Vineland, as the second Cumberland County craft brewery. Turtle Stone became the county's successor to Blue Collar Brewing, known for its Hopalong Pale Ale (among other brews) before it closed nearly 10 years ago. Turtle Stone, by the way, marked its first anniversary in business last month.
Glasstown Brewing's name salutes the industrial history of Millville. South Jersey was once the center of U.S. glass manufacturing. Millville – and the city's economy – were long synonymous with the Wheaton Industries glassworks.
These days, Gerresheimer, a global company based in Germany, is the big-name player you'll find in the Millville glass business.
Heeding Millville's glass tradition, Justin and Paul hope to source growlers and other bottles directly from the company. (Gerresheimer supplies growlers for companies like Grandstand, which markets custom-logo jugs to bars and breweries.) The two say their planned brewery also could become the first to use a quart-size growler that Gerresheimer intends to produce.
Beers planned for the Glasstown lineup include an American stout, red and pale ales, a brown ale, and other brews that would make use of South Jersey cranberries, blueberries and beach plums.
Justin and Paul also want to celebrate the city's military history with a beer brewed to evoke the spirit of the P-47. The Army Air Forces, forerunner to today's U.S. Air Force, used the Millville airfield to train pilots to fly P-47s, which first saw combat over Europe in 1943 and also served as fighter escorts to the B-17 bombers that flew sorties over Germany. (P-47s were also used in the Pacific Theater.)
Glasstown Brewing just received the blessing of Milllville officials. The next step is to work out the lease with the DRBA, file licensing and tax paperwork with state and federal regulators, and pursue financing, such as micro loans through the city and Cumberland County business-development programs. Glasstown's production size is contingent on the financing that can be secured.
How quickly the brewery can get up and running, of course, depends on how quickly those matters are wrapped up.