Monday, April 4, 2011

Feds OK Cape May nano-bewer

Cape May Brewing Company clears a key hurdle and moves one step away from being able to make beer.

Federal regulators – the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) – OK'd the budding South Jersey nano-brewery last Friday.

That puts the enterprise started by Ryan Krill, his dad Robert, and Chris Henke in position to get the blessings of New Jersey regulators.

(In photo above, from left that's Chris and Ryan sharing a toast with Flying Fish sales director Andy Newell at the Atlantic City beer festival last Friday night.)

Barring any hitches, the state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control could grant a license by mid-April, enabling Cape May Brewing to fire up the one-third-barrel system Chris assembled and get the brewery up and running at their location in Lower Township, adjacent to the Cape May County Airport.

"We got the TTB license today. The only thing the ABC needs is our TTB license," Ryan said Friday night. "They've already given us comments, and we've responded."

Chris notes the brewing system was designed to achieve short-term goals. "We're calling it our pilot system," he says. "Hopefully that all it is, a one-third barrel system. We built it to get our license. We're going to use it to get our license, we're going to brew on it. But as soon as possible, we're going to upgrade to something bigger."

So close, yet still so far away.

Ryan and Chris say they'll be tending to details big and small before they're striking a mash, meaning there's a lot to do before trying to stand up beers in front of the bar crowds that are part of the state's southern shore population surge in summertime. Cape May Brewing is a business, they say, not a race, so rushing to market is something to be avoided.

"We're a local brewery, serving Cape May and the South Jersey crowd," Ryan says. "The peak is in the summer and we would like to be able to hit that. It would be good for us. But if we're unable to do that, then we're going to have to pass because we're not going to get in over our heads."

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