Friday, October 7, 2011

Still a nano, just a bigger nano

A capacity boost at Cape May Brewing Company.

The nanobrewer located in Lower Township in Cape May County has stepped up its brewing batch size to 1.5 barrels and has added five 2-barrel fermenters that will allow the brewery to phase out the nine 35-gallon fermenters it began operations with back in late spring.

The quick jump to a tripled brewing capacity is part of Cape May's business plan, says co-founder Ryan Krill.

The original brewing setup – designed Chris Henke, the company's brewer, and fashioned from repurposed half-barrel kegs – was directed more at getting the nanobrewery licensed and up and running in the craft beer market than it was to brew and maintain a flow of beer inventory.

"The new setup is stainless steel tanks Chris got from a stainless distributor and got welded with fittings. It's more efficient," says co-founder Ryan Krill, who took some time on Friday to talk about the brewery's jump from brewing 12- to 13-gallon batches to 46 gallons.

Other changes include the addition of a second cold box and regularly scheduled brewery tours. The tours began in July as announced-date events but are now set for each Saturday (noon to 4 p.m.). The tours have proved popular, Ryan says, drawing crowd sizes of 100 people during the allotted hours.

Also, the brewery has also joined the Garden State Craft Brewers Guild, one of three newly licensed craft breweries in the state to do so. (Kane Brewing and Carton Brewing, both in Monmouth County, are the other two.)

Cape May is still supplying a single bar account (the oceanfront Cabanas in Cape May), but Ryan says the tiny beer company that he started with his dad, Robert, and college friend Chris has seen a gradual increase in production.

The brewery produced 16 barrels from July to September, in the form of their flagship Cape May IPA, a one-off dark IPA (a beer that was done on a lark, so it's highly improbable to ever see it return), a porter, stout and wheat beer.

Heading into the Thanksgiving holiday you can expect a cranberry wheat beer, Ryan says.

Speaking of Carton Brewing, the Atlantic Highlands production brewery that came online in August will begin conducting brewery tours this weekend, Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. (Judging from their website, this week they pilot-brewed a milk stout – Carton of Milk Stout – a brew that was always in the company game plan.)

Additionally, Carton is teaming with Kane Brewing, the Ocean Township production brewery that opened last July, for a benefit beer dinner on Oct. 14th.

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