On the Way to Cape May: Our New Brew Series!
So, this summer is pretty special for us. It’s the first summer after particularly brutal pandemic restrictions, and also the summer of 2021, which is our 10th year anniversary!
We’ve got some awesome things planned for our unofficial summer kick-off Memorial Day weekend, including a very special beer series release, new merch, and of course, a party complete with decorations and live music. We’ll have more to share with you soon, but until then, here’s a sneak peek into what went into our upcoming new series: On the Way to Cape May, celebrating 10 years with 10 new brew releases!
This week, we caught up with Backdoor Release crew Production Planning & Specialty Brewing Manager Brian Hink, Tasting Room General Manager Chris Costello, and Social Media & Design Alchemist Courtney Rosenberg in the Brewtanical Garden to learn more.
“The really cool thing about meeting out here is that the very first time we talked about these 10 beers was in the Brewtanical Garden,” Brian says.
They started thinking about this series back in October of last year, planning out how we could make this year particularly special.
It was Courtney who pitched the idea of 10 years, 10 beers, and to make ten specific beers as part of a running series.
“One night at home, way after hours, I started writing this stuff down and what popped in my mind,” she says.
The name for the series, On the Way to Cape May, is a callback to popular beach tune “On the Way to Cape May,” a whimsical song familiar to those from the area, or those who have visited. The beer designs take inspiration from beach tags to create a nostalgic, collectible feel.
“I used to work at Sunset Beach down at the Point, and throughout high school, we used to play it. It’s been embedded in my mind,” Courtney says.
“It’s a very old school song that fits right in line with the ‘Under the Boardwalk’ song,” Brian says, referencing another classic, beachy tune.
“It means a lot to people who come down here, even from the Philadelphia area. A lot of grandparents have been passing it on to their families,” Courtney says.
Chris nods in agreement. “Growing up, going to Wildwood, Cape May was a once or twice a year trip for the family,” he says. “I feel like whenever we came over, we played the song on the way to Cape May. It’s a seven minute drive from Wildwood, but this song would definitely play on the way there.”
These three make for a great trio to bring this concept together, as Courtney grew up in Cape May, Brian grew up in fellow shore town Ocean City up north, and Chris grew up in Philly.
As they took a look at the song and lyrics for inspiration, ultimately they decided to focus on the nostalgia element.
“We just decided, you know what, let’s just make these beers very indulgent, and very nostalgic,” Brian says. “You go to the shore once a summer, or once a week, or you grow up here and you’re working your ass off every summer. For each person, there’s always those one or two nights where you go on the boardwalk or go to the beach or check out the local sugar spot and eat a bunch of food and ride the rides.”
Of course, while Cape May offers specific vendors for different types of beachy fare, much of the “On the Way to Cape May” song mentions all of the shore towns you might come across throughout Cape May county, and the team wanted to make sure that what they created would be applicable to the shore town experience as a whole.
“Instead of being specific to each area, we wanted to leave it up to interpretation on what it means to somebody and what they want it to mean to them,” Chris said.
Rather than honing in on a specific flavor experience from a particular store or brand, people can relate instead to the iconic beach flavors and boardwalk fare.
“It’s nostalgia for us, too,” Courtney says. “A lot of people aren’t from Cape May originally, or they visit every year, and we wanted to capture what sweet treats and nostalgia would hit the company as a whole and what we’ve all come to learn and love.”
Of course, a big part of this nostalgia is collecting beach tags each summer.
“Beach tags are Cape May,” Courtney says. “When people line all of these up next to each other, each tag will have a different look and different cut and shape to them.”
On the front of each can in this series, the cutout image mimicking the beach site changes with each new release, for a total of 10 different “tags” to collect.
“I’ve seen the first five of them now,” Brian shares, showing us a sneak peek on his laptop. While each can is similarly designed as part of the series, each label tag is unique to that specific flavor and color associated with the brew.
“If you look at actual beach tags through the years, they are all different shapes, like ovals, squares or star cuts. They keep changing them, and a lot of people collect them. My mom’s got a big shadow box with 30 years worth of beach tags. Some of them even predate her, because she got them from her mom,” Brian says.
Chris notes that many people on the beach display their tags on their beach bags. “I just started collecting myself,” he says. “ I got a new bag last year and decided to start.”
The creation of the beach tags themselves were something that Courtney had experience with while growing up here. “In elementary school, you could enter the contest to be the person who draws the tag,” she says. “Each of the tags on these different beers are a nice ode to this piece of Cape May.”
As for the beers, all three are looking forward to sharing them with everyone.
“We would love for people to drink and save the can, and see if they can get all ten to line them up and really enjoy the story we’re creating, and the story of each flavor,” Chris says.
“There will be a hashtag in the description on the back of each can,” Courtney says. She’s really excited to see people using this hashtag and start collecting. “Have fun with it! We want people to have fun, we want people to take photos and share the brews with their friends and family,” she says.
While each of us may have our own favorite ice cream spot or pizza joint, or even our favorite shore town throughout the state, the experience itself is something everyone can relate to. Ultimately, we hope that these flavors start a conversation, and that people share some of their favorite, iconic experiences with them.
The fun starts next week, but the beers will be released throughout the rest of the year.
“As we thought about it more, our 10th anniversary doesn’t just happen on one day — it’s an entire year-long celebration, so we planned these releases to go throughout the fall and into the winter,” Brian says.
As for the production side, the hard work of capturing and dialing in the flavors in each brew has already begun, as the first two in the series are set to be released soon, and more are in the pipeline.
“I’m excited for our fans to see a different kind of packaging type come out from us that we haven’t seen in a while,” Chris says.
Ok, so we’ve shared a lot here without really saying much about what flavors and styles you can expect.
The truth is, part of the fun will be finding out as we go along! Our first release debuts next week, so keep an eye out on social media for that very first glimpse. Don’t forget to keep us in mind for your Memorial Day weekend plans, and keep an eye out for more information on what to expect in our Tasting Room next week!
In the meantime, comment what flavors you think might be a part of this series, and stay tuned for when you can pick up your own four-pack!