Things are better when they are made with wood.
So we’re excited to announce: beginning this Friday, CMBC will offer handmade mahogany growler carriers that have been crafted by local woodworker and Lower Cape May Regional High School shop teacher of 15 years Mark Haibach. Thanks to the caddys, which fit two 64-ounce bottles each, no longer will your beer be rolling around in the backseat of your car… and it’ll stay put in style. We sat down with Mark to get the scoop:
How did you get hooked up with the brewery? I happen to live directly across the street. But actually, I’ve only been visiting since about November. I was uneducated about craft beer. Many of my friends enjoy it and they drink IPAs, so I thought craft beer meant IPAs, which I don’t love. Then I discovered how wrong I was.
What prompted you to make these custom carriers? I enjoy visiting different breweries and over spring break, I visited one in Lancaster. I had to park five or six blocks away, so I ended up walking quite a ways with my four kids and my two growlers clanking together. I realized this isn’t going to work for me, so I designed a caddy for my own personal use. Shortly after, [CMBC President] Ryan Krill spoke at the school where I teach as part of Cape May Forum, so I invited him to come see the caddy in my classroom. We set up a meeting and he immediately placed an order.
What do your students think of the carriers? Fortunately, most of them don’t know what a growler is! But a few tell me their parents are going to love it.
What sets yours apart from other wooden growler carriers people might see online? The craftsmanship. A lot of the others I’ve seen are more boxy. You’ll see with these, there’s a great attention to detail. All edges are rounded over and everything is completely sanded, and instead of using a nail gun, which leaves unsightly holes, we used glue and round head brass nails. Plus, these will be coming from a block and a half away… can’t get much more local than that.
How many wood pieces are you assembling to make one carrier? About 12.
How long does it take to make one? Hard to say because I don’t make one at a time, but the first one I designed start to finish was probably a couple of hours. I’ve been a woodworker for 30 years, so it kind of comes naturally to me. My goal is to get to a point where I can get 50 a week… that would be my ultimate goal.
What’s the process like? The biggest thing for us was getting the wood burner — Yesterday, my wife and I sat on the back deck with a blow torch for three hours, heating the branding iron and burning the logo.
I’m guessing there’s not a lot of room for error? I burned 110 sides yesterday and I think I messed up six of them.
What else should people know? These are going to be truly family made. My wife helps with sanding, finishing and making some of parts, and even some of the holes will be drilled by my kids — I’ve got four, ages six through 10 — who like to help in my shop.
What’s in YOUR growler? Well, my wife’s favorite is a mix of the Tower 23 and the Bog. I love the King Porter Stomp or Honey Porter.
You’ve taught many of the CMBC employees in woodshop. Who was the best and who was the worst? The best was Steve Wilson from the tasting room. He did an amazing cedar chest with zebrawood. Just beautiful.
The growler carriers are $40 and available in the CMBC tasting room beginning Friday, June 12.