Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Turtle Stone Brewing, Update

Location, location, location.

It's a holy grail for businesses, and it's also what Turtle Stone Brewing, the South Jersey brewery on the drawing boards, is working to get its arms around right now on its way toward joining the ranks of New Jersey brewing enterprises.

Some recap:
Turtle Stone is the brainchild of Ben Battiata and Becky Pedersen of Cumberland County. The two have acquired a refurbished brewhouse and some fermenters in a dash to bring their vision of a second production brewery in South Jersey closer to reality. (Flying Fish in Cherry Hill is the other production brewer.)

In a perfect world, we'd be drinking Turtle Stone's stout and honey blonde ale right now (an earlier target launch date was last spring; but that fell out of reach after a site in Vineland that Ben and Becky had their eyes on was sold before they could get a jump on it). But remember: location, location, location.

Ben says the site they have been flirting with in Vineland's industrial park the past several months may not be the best fit in the long run, when you consider growth.

Specifically, the site isn't a clean match for the brewing equipment, posing the issue of having to do a lot of interior work to bring things up to par, only to potentially outgrow the space sooner than later.

So Ben and Becky are making sure they've done the best possible site search, and that now includes possibilities in downtown Vineland (nearby Millville was also in the mix, we seem to recall). Ben says he'd like to be able to buy a building to house the brewery; the banks they've gone to for financing have expressed a preference for that, too.

So for now, their pub system brewhouse is still in storage in Oregon, while the accompanying 15-barrel fermenter and bright tanks wait in Vineland at that industrial park site that has long loomed in the picture. (Also, the brewery's business logo is getting an overhaul, Ben says.)

And their eyes are on the fall.

Ben's optimistic more pieces to the mosaic will be added, and that their vision of a brewery will not only emerge clearer, but take several more steps closer to becoming the next New Jersey brewing enterprise.

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