Party Time? Excellent!
One thing we pride ourselves around here — other than our beer — is the great time to be had in the Tasting Room. We’ve got knowledgeable Beertenders to usher you through your experience, stellar Brand Ambassadors to teach you everything you need to know about CMBC, and a beautiful space that inspires our guests to have a good time.
Sounds like the perfect place for a party.
Over the past few months, we’ve renovated part of the Sour Brewery to become our new Barrel Room, perfect for your next event. We got together with our new Private Events Coordinator (and Beertender extraordinaire) Kathy Forler to find out what our guests can expect.
Kathy, a three-year veteran of CMBC, is no stranger to event planning, having spent many years at the Cape May/Lewes Ferry, scheduling private events in their Sunset Lounge. Kathy spent another two years consulting for Harry’s at the Montreal Beach Resort.
“The Ferry had never had weddings,” she tells us, “and by the time I’d left there, I’d coordinated over 30.”
There are some similarities between the Sunset Lounge, Harry’s, and us — we’re all looking to maximize the use of a relatively small space. None of us have a 500-person banquet hall.
“It’s really to put a focus on a space,” Kathy says. “Harry’s is a small venue, really focused on rehearsal dinners and smaller, intimate weddings.”
And we’ve recently renovated our Sour Brewery to become our Barrel Room. We’ve maximized the space by moving the fermenters to the very edge of the room, our friend David Macomber painted a beautiful mural on the doors of our cooler (he could paint our logo in his sleep by now), and we’ve moved in some tables and chairs and decorations and lighting.
The result is quite nice.
“I love the decor,” Kathy says. “The barrels, the rustic nature of it, the industrial nature of it. It’s a unique space for a specific type of interest. If you look at all of the venues in Cape May, I don’t think there’s anything remotely like it.”
The space is casual, but it could be formal.
“I have a hard time putting ‘formal’ and ‘industrial’ in the same sentence,” Kathy laughs, “but we can make it work.”
The Barrel Room is perfect for rehearsal dinners, milestone birthdays, baby and bridal showers, bachelor or bachelorette parties, and small, intimate weddings. The maximum in the Barrel Room is fifty people, but we can accommodate up to 150 people if you’re willing to buy out the brewery for a day.
“The Barrel Room is very reasonable, perfect size, and it’s private,” Kathy says. “And I look at it as a place where if you want to be casual, you can. If you want to have a beachy shindig with a firepit, we can do it.”
We call it “Cape May Formal”: khakis, flip flops, and a button down for the guys, a nice sundress for the girls. Don’t break the bank. No sequins. No red carpet. No black tie. If you’re looking for the elegance of a Congress Hall, “that’s not for us,” Kathy says. “But I can probably help you find that.”
Kathy has enough experience scheduling events in town that she knows that if our space isn’t for you, she knows which space might be.
“And I’ve done that,” she says, referring to sending people to another venue if ours isn’t right. “One of the things that come from working with someone who is onsite in Cape May — most of the people looking to have events are from outside of Cape May — I have the contacts. That’s the hardest part about putting together an event when you live outside the area: it’s who you know.”
For every event at Cape May Brewing Company, you get a private space for a minimum of three hours, a private bartender, and the first two drinks included. In addition, you get a dedicated coordinator from start-to-finish — usually Kathy, but she also has trusted staff that she can call upon if need be.
“The one big thing I bring is having one person coordinating everything,” Kathy says. “Especially with the food. I can’t order it, I can’t make it, but I can make it happen for you.”
As you may (or may not) know, in New Jersey, it’s illegal for production breweries to make food. However, you’re more than welcome to bring your own or have a catered meal while you’re here. Luckily, Kathy has spent much of her career developing relationships with caterers and restaurants in Cape May. If you tell her what you want and how much you want to spend, she’ll know where to send you for the best bang for your buck.
“I’ve talked to four different catering venues,” Kathy says. “Two food trucks, a high-end caterer, and something middle-of-the-road. They all have delivery capabilities, but, most importantly, I have experience with them. People here have had experiences with them.”
Kathy won’t recommend someone unless they’re tried-and-true. She doesn’t want the headaches, and she certainly doesn’t want to pass those headaches onto our visitors.
Kathy will frequently make menu recommendations, everything else is to be worked out between the customer and the caterer. If you’re looking for a formal, sit down dinner with china, crystal, and silver, we’re happy to accommodate, but you’ll have to work out the rentals with the caterer.
While the Barrel Room is certainly unique, beyond that, the Cape May Brewing Company experience is one you’re not likely to get anywhere else.
“Number one, you’re learning about the beer,” Kathy says. “That’s the one thing we really offer. Whether it’s anything from a double IPA to The Bog, we’re hands-on. You can talk to us about anything.”
Furthermore, there’s brewing happening all around you. We don’t have the entire process going on in the Barrel Room, but beer is fermenting right next to you.
“I think that’s very attractive to a lot of people,” Kathy says. “And, once again, you get the casual aspect of hanging out and having a beer. Most people say, ‘We love coming here. We love the beer. We love the atmosphere. We love the people.’ And that’s what I try to build the entire party around.”
Ultimately, these are our people. You are our people. If you’re reading this blog, you are the type of person who already has the idea in the back of their head, “Hm. CMBC would be a fun place for our rehearsal dinner.” And it would.
“We’re a blast,” Kathy says.
So, if you — specifically you — are looking for the place to host your next “beachy shindig,” check out the Private Events page on our website, shoot Kathy an email at [email protected], or give her a call at (609) 849-9933 x1013.