Monday, January 17, 2011

Cape May County brewery in the works

New Jersey's craft beer industry entered 2011 with four applications* for production brewer licenses pending before state regulators, among them a venture picking up some steam in Cape May County.

Ryan Krill, his father Robert Krill, and Chris Henke, a friend from Ryan's college days at Villanova University, say they're in the process of leasing a site in Lower Township for their Cape May Brewing Company, an enterprise they want to become a beer supplier in the South Jersey shore market and beyond.

"Our bread and butter is going to be local draft distribution," says Ryan. (Pictured from left to right: Robert, Ryan and Chris.)

Cape May, as a part of the business name, represents more than just a potential market. The region is also the shore destination that the three, as Pennsylvania residents, have a long had an association with. Coincidentally enough, their Pennsylvania haunts – West Chester, where the Krills hail from, and North Wales, where Chris has an address – are home to two Iron Hill brewpub locations. And for the record, Ryan now calls Avalon home.

Aside from being craft beer enthusiasts, the trio's passion for better beer is buoyed by their seven combined years involved in homebrewing, a typical springboard into commercial beer-making (the majority of the Garden State's craft brewers entered the business via this path). But their entrepreneurial sense rests upon 30 years in the pharmaceutical business for Robert, 65; work in finance for Ryan, 28; and engineering for Chris, also 28.

There's a "keener interest in craft beers. The quality is definitely better, and people are asking for local beers," says Robert.

Right now, the three are focused on the lease for their site adjacent to the Cape May County Airport (the property is owned by the Delaware River and Bay Authority, which runs the Cape May-Lewes, Delaware, ferry and the airport). After that, they'll turn their attention to installing their brewing equipment and securing their federal and state licenses. (They hope to have an initial 10-gallon brewing set-up installed around April, and then a three-barrel system.)

The trio would like to see Cape May Brewing up and running by Memorial Day, but they're also realistic that much needs to happen beforehand. (An April opening is noted on their Web page, but they say that will most likely get pushed back.)

In the meantime, they're also pounding the pavement to establish accounts for Cape May Brewing Company, which could launch with an IPA (Jump the Jetty IPA is a working name), followed up with wheat beer that makes use of Jersey-grown cranberries, plus seasonal brews.

"We're taking our time. We're not running into the market. It's easy to talk about starting a brewery," Ryan says.

*More on the other three soon.


Anonymous said...

Glad to see more breweries in South Jersey!

Eric Elberson said...

This is great news! Please let me know if my company can help you in any way possible!!!Can't Wait....

Anonymous said...

good to see your getting into the business. i have just secured a building in egg harbor city. Pinelands brewing company will place its beers on shelves and bars around july 1.

Anonymous said...

I have tasted Ryan and Chris's home brew. If there "Jump the Jetty" brew is as good, I will go to the pubs that have it. They have a great recipe, super personalities, and Robert seems to have an astute sense for business. They combine for a dynamic trio. I am sure Cape May Brewery will be a smashing success. If you have a chance to try it, you will be pleased with the taste. If you have an oppurtunity to meet them, you will enjoy that also.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see this in process. I've noticed the previous posts had to do with distribution, etc. I am looking forward to the consumption end of the business!