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The Official Blog of Cape May Brewing Company

Ryan Krill goes to Washington… again…

If you’re a person who doesn’t love conferences, we don’t know what to tell you. You get to spend a few days hanging out with like-minded people who are all there to learn a thing or two about your industry.

Well, maybe it’s just our industry that has fun conferences. Because, as you know, our industry has beer.

Nonetheless, we have the feeling that even if Ryan had never switched careers and was still in real estate, he could make any conference a good time.

Lucky for you, he’s not in real estate. He’s in brewing. And we think the attendees at this year’s USBevX will be pretty lucky, too.

Held in Washington DC — which is quickly becoming Ryan’s home-away-from-home — the USBevX Wine and Beverage Expo was first held last year, bringing together professionals from the wine and craft beverage industries. Held next week, the conference is coupled with a trade show featuring over 150 of the industry’s suppliers, the week offers a chance for authorities in the industry to have an in-depth discussion on the volatile business environment for alcoholic beverage producers.

This year’s theme is “The Quality Revolution” — and if you’re looking for someone who knows about quality, you come to CMBC. This year’s conference will look at “quality-driven” trends in the market and their impact on the beverage industry.

Ryan’s looking forward to his time at BevX. “It should be a great time,” he tells us. “I’m looking forward to seeing some colleagues in the other parts of the alcohol beverage manufacturing industry.”

He’ll be speaking at a few panels this year. “Social Media Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Keep Making” sounds like something he knows quite a bit about — you know, after all, he was smart enough to start this blog! Seriously though, under his guidance, our social media has been blowing up lately, and with Courtney Rosenberg at the helm, we’ve been kickin’ ass and takin’ names.

He’s also speaking at “The Political Horizon for Wine & Craft Beverages”. With his extraordinary work with the Garden State Craft Brewers Guild, Ryan is an obvious choice for this panel — he’s got his finger on the pulse of what’s happening both in Trenton and Washington. This panel will explore how the different industries have been working together and the role guilds can play.

Ryan’s looking forward to having a Cape May IPA on the expo floor and talking to vendors. And it looks like he’ll have his hands full there! Just looking at the vendor list, we can see a barrel vendor — who couldn’t possibly beat Skyler — and a few packaging vendors.

Sounds like it’s gonna be a great time! We’re sure he’ll find something there that will make our brews better in some way. And when he does, we’ll tell you about it here. Check back!

Ryan and Chris on the Stow Away Series


On a very busy day at CMBC — busier than a normal Monday, in fact — we had a chance to wrangle both Hank and Ryan in one room at the same time (for the most part) to talk about the upcoming Stow Away Series release.

It should be noted that during the discussion Ryan munched on some carrots and peanut butter, while Hank searched through copious emails and notes to find out exactly when the original pitch was delivered.

Why did we do this beer?

HANK: Well, [Head Brewer Brian Hink]’s been pushing us. Since he started, he’s always wanted to brew sour beers. I’m very interested in fermentations in general. Just different types of fermentation: not just beer, but vinegar, and lactic acid, and acetic acid. So, I’ve always wanted to do it, but we never had the time nor the capacity. Eventually, he wore away enough and we decided to go for it. I ordered a pitch called Bug County — East Coast Yeast Company.

RYAN: (entering, as Chris is pulled away by Nakeya) Hey, what’s up, man?

Yeah, we’re, uh… talking about where the idea came from, basically.

RYAN: For the Stow Away Series?

Yeah, for the Stow Away Series.

RYAN: Well, we always wanted to do something that was really different and fun. So, the whole genesis of of Cape May Brewery in general is to bring this really great craft beer that we see — especially out West — to New Jersey. So, doing that isn’t limited to just making craft beer. The interesting thing is exploring flavors. Because, ultimately, what are we? “We’re a beverage company,” is the least sexy way to say it. Carbonated alcoholic beverage. And let’s not just stick with the basic flavors anymore. Let’s see what different flavor compound possibilities exist.

So why did we want to do the Stow Away Series in particular?

RYAN: We wanted to do start doing some barrel-aging work with red wine barrels. A lot of breweries do stuff with bourbon barrels, which is great and all, but not too many people are working with red wine barrels. So, we wanted to explore that a little further.

HANK: (returning) East Coast Yeast. And they have a blend of bacteria and wild yeast called Bug County. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it?

Uh, yeah, it does…

Why did we choose to use 750ml bottles?

RYAN: Because we’re doing a bottle-conditioned beer.

HANK: Yeah, you can bottle-condition in any bottle, really, but those are definitely heartier, they can handle the pressure more. Also, it’s a specialty product. I think I related it more to a wine, and it’s priced like a wine, so it’s more of a specialty product with specialty packaging. It’s just premium.

Have we done 750s before?

RYAN: Once, a long time ago.

What did we bottle?

RYAN: Sawyer’s Swap and Devil’s Reach. We had to do it manually. We had a little hand-filler.

HANK: Oh, my gosh, yeah. That was our first bottling run.

RYAN: (With a mouth full of peanut butter) Mm hm.

How’d they go down? How were they received by the customers?

RYAN: It was received really well, but it was just grueling in terms of being efficient.

IMG_8204Have we gotten any more efficient this time around?

RYAN: (Peanut butter) Mm hm.

How so?

RYAN: We got a really nice filler. The whole production staff knows what they’re doing.

They didn’t before?

RYAN: It was me and Hank. I’d say no.

HANK: Say no more. (Finding it on his computer) December 16, 2013, is when Bug County shipped to us, the secondary fermentation run. It was a little bit of a while ago.

So, why did we want to do barrel-aging work? You said no one’s really doing it, so why did we want to do it?

HANK: Like I said before, I’m really interested in fermentations other than standard fermentations. And barrel’s a whole ‘nother level, because not only are we trying to get these other bacteria and yeast to ferment in this beer, but then the barrel itself is letting a little bit of oxygen in, which just changes up everything going on, the chemistry going on in this barrel. It’s just a very unique product. It’s something you can’t replicate, you can’t rush. Some wineries will use oak spirals to speed the process, but they’re looking for oak flavor. We’re looking for so much more than oak flavor. That aged flavor is just so unique. Plus the other fermentations going on over the two-and-a-half year period.

What does that do for the CMBC, getting those red wine barrels in?

HANK: Costs a lot of money. Money you’re not going to see back for two-and-a-half years.

RYAN: Mm hm. (The peanut butter, again)

You think it’ll pay off?

RYAN: I think it’s a great opportunity to show who we are. That we’re not just trying to make the cheapest beer possible. That we’re trying to make good shit.

HANK: That we’re more than IPAs, ales, lagers. As brewers we want to be creative. That’s who we are at heart, right? We started this company as brewers and we want to have fun designing beers, and we want to let the beers do whatever the hell they’re going to do. The scary part about a barrel: you can put beer in a barrel, you never know what you’re going to get. You could get vinegar. You could a really tasty sour beer. You could get nothing.

And that’s my next question. We’re taking a lot of the process out of our hands and handing it over to the customer in terms of cellaring and aging the beer. How do you guys feel about that? What should the customer expect?

RYAN: Well, we’re giving it to them with instructions.

HANK: In my opinion, I’m gonna drink it now. I can’t sit on beer like that.

RYAN: Yeah.

HANK: I have no patience. I do not have a cellar. I have zero patience to cellar beer. The only beers I’ve cellared were accidental.

You forgot about them?

HANK: Forgot about ’em. And the beer’s perfect to drink right now. You can cellar them and see what happens, and then you become part of the experiment. Because we’ve never cellared this beer before, we’ve never brewed this beer before, so you’re part of this. The consumer is PART OF THIS. If you go ahead and age it for two years, you’re gonna come back and tell us it was better… hopefully not worse… the same… who knows? So, I think that’s the pretty unique part of it. We’re all just learning together. The point where it gets into the consumer’s hands? Who knows. As an engineer, I hate leaving things up to chance. That’s probably one reason it took us so long to get into the barrel. I’d say Brian and the brewers are more like artists, but I have an engineering background, I like everything to be very stark. I like to be in control of the process. And when you throw beer in a barrel? You have zero control over what’s going on.

So, why are you guys excited for it?

RYAN: (Who had been answering emails while Hank spoke rather eloquently on risk) Why am I excited for White Caps?

Sure, we can talk about that if you want.

RYAN: I mean, The Keel? Because it’s unlike anything we’ve ever done. (Turning to Hank) You gotta do sound bites, Hank.

HANK: Make sure you tell everyone he was holding a pen in his hand while he said that.

What other barrel-aged beers have you guys tried? Have you gotten any inspiration from any of them?

HANK: We’ve visited so many breweries.

RYAN: The brewery in California.

HANK: Crooked Stave.

RYAN: B-R-U-E-R-Y. Crooked Stave.

HANK: Uh, Cascade? Barrel House? Is that’s what it’s called?

RYAN: Yep, Cascade Barrel House.

HANK: That was our big trip to the West Coast.

That was all in California?

HANK: Cascade Barrel House is Seattle? No, Portland. There’s a bunch of little Belgian breweries — well, they seem little. There’s a good amount out there, now.

Any of them stand out to you as saying, yeah, this one? Or did you take elements from a lot of them?

HANK: We didn’t know where to start. There’s so little documentation out there on how to do this, and when we started this two years ago, there was even less. A lot less than there is now. Now, Brian will tell you all about The Sour Hour, a podcast he listens to, and there’s books you can read. When we started, it was almost a mystery. You know, we’re getting some of the bacteria from this one company, but when to age it? How long to age it? It was all a mystery. This brewer says this, and this brewer says that, and they were completely different. The Keel was just a crap shoot that really turned out well. We tried to control it as much as possible, but it just turned out incredibly well.

The Keel will be released Saturday, June 25, at the Brewtique. For more information, call (609) 849-9933 or email [email protected]

Updates From Your Guild

December 7 marked the final Garden State Craft Brewers Guild meeting of the year, held at Forgotten Boardwalk Brewery in Cherry Hill. A record 65 people attended… although only two of them sported holiday-themed outfits.

“I’m very disappointed in the showing of holiday cheer here,” said Forgotten Boardwalk’s Jamie Queli, dressed in a ‘Happy Llamaka’ sweater picturing a Llama in Hasidic dress.Garden State Brewers Guild Logo

Regardless, the meeting — and the bottle-share shindig that followed — were a success. Here’s what went down:

  1. Our guy Ryan was reelected as president! This time around, he will serve a two year – instead of one-year – term, per a new policy.

“I’m stoked!” he said. “Among my goals for 2016 is developing subcommittees: marketing, government affairs and events. There are some very talented people in our guild who want to be involved. I want to give them an outlet.”

Also on Ryan’s agenda: working to reintroduce legislation that’s important for job creation, modernizing and cleaning up the by-laws, increasing allied trade memberhip, hosting a safety conference with fellow guilds and the safety ambassador from the Brewers Association, and getting the ball rolling on two new beer festivals.

  1. Ryan, far right, meets vendors at Monday's meeting.
    Ryan, far right, meets vendors at Monday’s meeting.

    Ryan gave the group a rundown of the year in review. Here are the highlights:

Last June, Guild representatives lobbied 10 Congressional Offices at a Brewers Association Hill Climb. They met face-to-face with Senator David Norcross and Congressman Bill Pascrell.

A new website was launched, and digital outreach increased via a more streamlined newsletter.

A Best Practices Document was unveiled, to guide new breweries as they navigate the confusing legalese surrounding Jersey tasting rooms.

Renowned beer writer Don Russell became first Executive Director.

The Guild hosted two successful beer festivals: Battleship and Brews by the Bay.

An economic impact report was developed, covering everything from the jobs provided by craft beer in New Jersey (9,500) to the number of Springsteen songs that mention beer (five).

The Guild collaborated with the Pennsylvania Brewers Guild for the first annual Mid-Atlantic Brewers Symposium.

Job creation legislation was lobbied for at the state level (more on that below).

  1. Don gave his director’s report, which included a positive review of last week’s state lobby session. For the event — which was modeled after a Brewers Association Hill Climb – Don, Ryan,
    Our guy Chris with Gene Muller of Flying Fish.
    Our guy Chris with Gene Muller of Flying Fish.

    Gene Muller of Flying Fish, Mike Kane of Kane Brewing, and Guild lobbyist Eric Orlando headed to the State House in Trenton for four hours in order to discuss with policymakers Jersey’s emerging craft beer industry, as well as its challenges.

  1. Eric gave the legislative report which included an update on the pending, small-brewery legislation that was discussed at the aforementioned lobby day. (Think: a bill that would allow for the sale of beer at local farmers markets, a bill that would allow for the consumption of food at certain brewery tasting rooms, and a bill that would allow brewpubs to self-distribute a small amount of beer.)

“The Assembly was in session on this day,” Eric explained. “We set up in the hall that connects to the caucus rooms, so we were able to interact with all 80 members. The reception was really positive – the legislatures were surprised to learn how many breweries are present within their respective districts, or interested to know how they can get a brewery into their district. I think there is support for this package of bills. Whether or not they go to a vote depends on many factors, including whether there is support for them from legislative leadership.”

  1. Guild leadership reminded everyone to sign up for the upcoming Craft Brewers Conference, put on by the Brewers Association this spring in Philadelphia (watch this space for updates), and click here for a refresher on last year’s event.
  1. Guild leadership informed the group of FIVE recent brewery openings (Man Skirt in Hackettstown, Berlin Brewing in Berlin, Double Nickel in Pennsauken, Tomfoolery in Hammonton, and Belford Brewing in Belford.)
  1. Then, everyone ate pizza, drank Jersey fresh beer, participated in a raffle drawing, and perused the offerings of nine different vendors, selling everything from legal services to insurance to brewers grain.

Considering there will be 60 breweries and counting in New Jersey come 2016, there was a lot to celebrate.


Big Things For The CMBC Crew…

Our team is always brewing big beers. But recently, we’ve have some big personal events on tap, too. Here’s your proof that a brewery really IS a microcosm of life…


It was 2010 when Bob Krill — aka Mop Man — announced to his colleagues after a 40-year career in big pharmaceuticals that he’d be mop manopening a brewery with his son and his son’s college roommate. Although some people called him nuts, Bob’s never looked back.

“It’s a journey and we’re only at the beginning,” he says. “We’re not in it to become Budweiser, only to put a notch in Jersey’s beer belt, and I’m not just a daytripper… this is a long-term deal. It’s hard work, but we’re having fun, too. And if we can help people out along the way by creating some jobs, that’s very cool. It’s funny… when you tell people you’re involved with clinical trials, they tune you right out. Tell them you brew beer, and man, they’re all ears.”

November 1 marked Bob’s 70th birthday. He requested a steak “the size of a human head” (we call that a “Bobism”), so that’s exactly what he got. Family and friends — including Bob’s dog Brewster — celebrated with a tasty dinner. And, of course, beer. Lots of beer.


Sales rep Justin Vitti takes quite a bit of gentle ribbing in our weekly newsletter, but only because he’s such a good sport. We couldn’t bejustin vitti happier for him and girlfriend Mariel Kauffman on their recent engagement.

Justin had the rock for six months, but he waited until the perfect, organic moment to pop the question: when Mariel was upset over a favorite piece of jewelry that needed repair. “Maybe we could just replace it,” Justin told her, ever so suavely whipping out a diamond.

Now, it’s on to seating arrangements and cake tastings. So far, only one thing about the ceremony has been set in stone: there will be beer. Lots of beer.


nuptialMop Man and his son, CMBC Prez Ryan Krill, will be at Hotel Monaco in Philadelphia this weekend for the wedding of their daughter/sister, Lauren Krill. She’s getting hitched to Alex Ruiz, whom she met while working for The Vanguard Group in Arizona.

At the reception, our Coastal Evacuation beer will be on tap, and our Devil’s Reach will be served in bottles with wax caps hand-dipped by Mop Map and CMBC’s Courtney Rosenberg. We’ve cleverly disguised the latter brew via custom labels (created in-house) as “Nuptiale.”

The CMBC team wishes the lovebirds an epic marriage full of laughter, adventure, and beer. Lots of beer.


Brian Hink — Taurus, Kerouak fan, affable lover of pizza — has been promoted from CMBC Brewer to CMBC’s Head Brewer. What does this For Dientail? Managing the entire production team; developing standard operating procedures for the brewhouse, cellar and packaging processes; and liasing with our human resources department. Hey, with an ever-increasing employee count, we’ve got a lot of humans to resource!

Also on the promotion front… Zach Pashley, a six-year veteran of the Coast Guard and a tasting room/events associate for CMBC, has been named Assistant Tasting Room Manager.

“I’m really looking forward to the increased responsibility,” he says. “And for the opportunity to be one of the faces of a company I truly believe in.”

Nice work, boys. Now have yourselves a beer. Or lots of beer.

A Chat With Ryan, En Route To CBC

Well, our guy Brian made it safely to Portland yesterday evening for the Craft Brewers Conference, which he says is “very welcoming.” But CMB Prez Ryan Krill has just finished making his way through the Philadelphia Airport, where he ran into some of the Origlio guys (Origlio is CMB’s distributor). Apparently, they were a mite bit upset the bar wasn’t open before 7am. Go hard or go home, right? Ryan also ran into 200 rambunctious high schoolers with plastic lays heading to Orlando at the next gate over. “Is it spring break already?” he says.

Now, he’s juuuuust about to take off. See? (And no, he’s not actually a nervous flyer… he’s a pilot!)


We caught up with Ry-guy before the flight attendants scolded him for using a cell phone (or making that face!) and this is what he had to say about the week ahead…

What will you do on the plane? I am working on pictures for our marketing team — going through all of the photos of the brewery’s evolution up to today. And then I’ll geek out on my spreadsheets.

Is this your first time going to CBC? Yes, and I’m really excited. We’ve always been too busy or didn’t have the resources, so this is the first time where I can actually break away and do it.

Is there one seminar or one component of the next few days for which you’re especially excited? There’s a whole bunnch of them. The Conference even has an app that lays it all out, which is pretty cool. There’s a bunch of Guild-related stuff (Blogger’s note: Remember, Ryan is the President of the Garden State Craft Brewers Guild), so all of the guild leaders are getting together for a meeting of the families. I’m looking forward to that.

Ryan's 7am view...
Ryan’s 7am view…

What is your ultimate goal? Education? Networking? Mostly networking and then education. It’s great being out there and seeing all the different brewers and talking  about what’s happening in the industry. And then there’s all of the free dinners from our vendors…

Is there one brewery in particular you admire, that you’re looking forward to connecting with? Let’s see… Dogfish Head. I mean, they’re right across the bay but we never talk to them. We’ll be attending a Dogfish event with our distributor, Origlio, and maybe we’ll have opportunity to meet some of those guys. Would be cool to have a relationship with them.

There are 12,000 people expected at this year’s CBC. What do you think the ratio of beards to non-beards will be? For men or females?

Touche. We’ll go with men. I think there’s going to be a lot. Wait, is mine considered a beard?

We’ll count scruff. Is there an over-under? I would say 80% facial hair.

Okay, we’ll check up on that. Are you bringing anything with you? I am bringing my cell phone and multiple chargers, because I’m going to be constantly interfacing with everyone back here. And I’m bringing one little, tiny carry-on, so I’ll be living out of that for over a week, since I’ll be in Phoenix afterwards visiting my sister.

How many shirts are you bringing? As many will fit.

What’s your schedule like? Action-packed. There’s a reception tonight, and then we have dinner and drinks with Grandstand, who do all of our glassware and dry goods. We’re a really big account for them, so they’ll be wooing us! Wednesday night there’s the Lagunitas party, there’s the Dogfish Kicking it Old School Party, and dinner with one of our malt suppliers based out of Minnesota, and then the guild stuff…

I asked you about breweries, but is there one guild you’re especially excited to connect with? I would like to talk with the Michigan Brewers Guild, they’ve got it going on. Maybe the South Carolina guys; I really like their website and we’re in the midst of redoing ours. Definitely some of the ones who are a bit more established than us.

Have you been to Portland before? I went with my girlfriend Kaycee. Did I tell you this story? So Christmas a year and a half ago, I wanted to get her a trip to Portland, so I had [CMB graphic designer] Courtney Rosenberg put together this really cool graphic with a picture of Oregon that says in the middle of it ‘We’re going to Portland,’ and then I framed it. So we have Christmas and Kaycee says to me, ‘Okay, you open your presents first,’ and it was all this Oregon-related stuff, so as I’m looking at it she says, ‘I got you a trip; we’re going to Portland!’ I was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ I gotta marry this girl; we’re like totally on the same page.

What stereotype about Portland is most accurate? Tons of flannel. And definitely a lot of breweries. There are more breweries in the city of Portland than in the entire state of New Jersey.



Big News From The Guild!

Remember that scene in Game of Thrones where King Joffrey Baratheon gets married to Margaery Tyrell and everyone pretends to be a big, happy family while secretly scheming their respective takedowns and the whole thing ends with a murder and some dancing midgets?

joffreyThat’s what the recent meeting of the Garden State Craft Brewers Guild, held at Spellbound last Monday, could have turned into (minus the dancing dwarves).

Sure, HBO may have House Stark and House Lannister, but Jersey’s got House Craft Brewers Guild and House Restaurant Association and about 14 other special interest groups, all with a lot riding on access to the kingdom’s alcohol. No one blames any of them for being passionate about their respective agendas.

But there are those – let’s call them three-eyed ravens – constantly chirping that one house or another is usurping too much control. Gaining an unfair advantage. Operating outside of the law. Having incestuous affairs. (Wait – scratch that last one; that really is just GOT.)

The Guild agrees that no one industry should unnecessarily infringe on any other, or get more than its fair share of, uh, magical dinosaur eggs. And we’d never want to be accused of doing so.

So, under the direction of CMB leader and association president Ryan Krill, the group’s board began working last December on a Best Practices document. By clearing up some of the murky legalese regarding limited brewery tasting rooms, it should go a long way toward appeasing those who aren’t keen on Jersey’s current tasting room boom.

At the meeting, this finely-finessed document was unveiled to the membership.

What, exactly, does it say?

Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children…

Just kidding.

It says that tasting rooms will not offer bar games or sports on TV, that they will close by 10pm unless the local municipality dictates earlier,Garden State Brewers Guild Logo
and that no food vendors will be allowed inside for on-premise consumption. But tasting rooms will be allowed to offer free bar snacks to patrons and, perhaps most importantly, customers will have the option of bringing in their own outside food. Finally, none of the aforementioned restrictions apply to private events.

Some braced themselves for a Red Wedding-style fight. After all, the document is effectively self-regulation – and rules are about as popular a topic as imps in Castlery Rock.

But the reaction was largely positive, with many vocalizing their agreement on the need for reiteration: tasting rooms are not traditional bars, and should not operate as such.

“I wish we had this when I was starting out,” Ryan told the group of 50, the largest turnout in Guild meeting history. “It’s going to clean up some gray areas, allowing us to better promote craft beer tourism, while maintaining a positive rapport with other alcohol-related businesses.”

Added Mark Edelson of Iron Hill: “We’ve taken the initiative, rather than leaving it up to someone else to regulate for us.”

And Jeremy Lees of Flounder Brewery agreed. “This will guide new start-ups,” he said. “We want to make sure everyone understands the nuances of the law.”

As always, we’ll keep you updated on those nuances. In the meantime, remember – summer’s coming.


Farewell To Ryan

It is with heavy hearts that we wish a fond farewell to our president and co-founder Ryan Krill, who’s leaving Cape May Brewing Company to pursue his other passion: professional ballet dancing in New York City.

“Few people know this,” he says, “but sometimes after the tasting room has closed, I use the space to practice my routine. And only after I’ve nailed my pirouettes do I allow myself a pint of Devil’s Reach.”

Ryan was hoping to continue his work at CMBC while performing with ABT, or the American Ballet Theater, but he can no longer risk the  potential for injury that comes with operating heavy machinery.

“I’m afraid my satin pointe shoes will not protect my feet should somebody drop a firkin or run me over  with a forklift, which happens about once a year. And although I love making beer, my toes have to be my  top priority from here on out. It’s going to be a very bittersweet goodbye.”

Although we’ll miss Ryan terribly, CMBC intends to honor his legacy by continuing to build upon it. We know we haven’t even had the

ribbon cutting for our new space at the Cape May County Airport yet (that will happen in early May), but we see no reason to stop at two production breweries. So, this month, we’ll also be taking over Cape May Convention Hall, where we’ll install a 50-barrel brewhouse and begin work on our next release: Conventional Ale. The secret ingredient will be thrice-massaged kelp fetched fresh from the Atlantic by CMBC’s head logistics man, Andrew Ewing.

“I did not agree to this,” says Andrew.

We realize that Cape May’s City Council occasionally requires this space for their monthly meetings, but we figure with the way those have been going, everyone involved could probably use a drink, anyway.


News From The Guild

Our guy Ryan Krill, CMB co-founder and president, was elected president of The Garden State Craft Brewers Guild — the voice of Jersey’s craft brewing industry since 1996 — last January. Under his leadership, the group’s spreading the good word: Jersey craft beer is primed to reach its tipping point.

Little known fact: the state used to be home to hundreds of breweries, including Kruger, the first in the world to can beer. Budweiser even had a satellite plant in Newark. And then came Prohibition and the death of Jersey beer distribution. Even after the government-mandated dry spell of the 1920s, the Garden State remained largely boozeless for over 70 years.

Now — thanks to sexy start-ups like the 32 breweries and 13 breweries-in-planning currently represented by the Guild, along with their four media and nine allied trade members — the pendulum is finally swinging the other way, and boy is it.

Garden State Brewers Guild Logo“I started getting really involved last year by founding a second Guild-sponsored beer festival called Brews by the Bay,” Ryan says. “Thanks to round-trip ferry passes, the event is the only bi-state beer  festival in the nation, and it raised money needed by the Guild for more latitude with pursuing new  ideas.”

Among these new ideas? Increasing communication between the association and Jersey’s thirsty  residents, hiring an executive director, and adding yet another beer festival to generate excitement  for an industry that’s creating jobs in a post-recession climate. As for just how many jobs, Cape  May Brewing Company alone is up to 21 year-round employees after only four years in existence,  and Ryan is busy putting together an economic impact report which details the importance of a  sustainable craft beer culture state-wide.

To that end, he and his fellow board members are traversing the sometimes vicious intersection that is beer and legislation, finessing a Best Practices document to help new brewers navigate the current tasting room boom.

And they’re doing it all because it’s their job, yes, but also because it’s their passion.

“Brewing beer is part science and part art, and that resonates with people,” says Ryan. “I remember when Cape May first joined the Guild, and there were only a handful of people at the meetings; our last meeting had 40 people. I’m looking forward to injecting the group with even more energy, and taking it to the next level.”

Stay tuned for updates, beer fans.

What Went Down At The Monday Meeting: 2/23/15

9:30: Chatter about the weekend ensues. Fearless leader Ryan Krill was in DC for the 78th Annual Walk to Washington where legislators had opportunity to mingle with Jersey’s craft beer makers. “Those senator guys can drink,” says Ryan. “I felt like an old man.” Meanwhile, Brew Master Brian Hink discusses his trip to Colorado, where he visited Avery Brewery. “They collect and repurpose CO2 with what looks like a fucking nuclear reactor,” he says. “Very impressive.” Both men are wearing the same CMB hat, complete with puff ball on top.

9:31: Production meeting commences. Brian has not yet had time to update the white board on which the brew schedule is usually written. “What the fuck?” jokes Ryan, although its hard to take him seriously in said puffy hat.

9:33: About the tap room, Brian says: “Everything’s kicking on us!” So, on deck for brewing is Cape May IPA, followed by Cape May Saison, and the new Take Five Session IPA. Bottling of Coastal Evacuation will happen on Friday.

9:42: New brew house update: it ships next week!

Devil's Reach Gone Wild is this week's one-off Wednesday beer geek's delight
Devil’s Reach Gone Wild is this week’s one-off Wednesday beer geek’s delight

9:43: New brewer update: Jake Smith starts training tomorrow! “We’ll give him a raise to $.08 an hour,” says Ryan. But in all seriousness, Brian is pumped for the help; last Tuesday he had a 14-hour day that started at 4am — ah, the life of a brewer.

9:44: Time to talk about this week’s Wednesday one-off, Devil’s Reach Gone Wild, which is theDevil’s Reach IPA fermented with wild yeast from grapes that grew right outside of the brewery. “I’m really excited for this one; it’s a beer geek thing,” says Brian. As for taste, expect it to be very wine-like, super dry, and not at all oaky.

AC Beer Fest9:47: AC BeerFest is coming up! Discussion ensues over whether it’s best to transport CMB brews there via firkins or pins. (If you’re wondering what the firk a firkin is, or if you’re too pin-headed to know what a pin is, click here.)

9:51: Speaking of pins, one of ours “blew up” last Friday. “It was in an outside cooler, and it was so cold it froze,” explains Brian. “As things freeze, they swell. It made a hot mess.”

10:30: Full staff meeting begins! Ryan shows everyone the plans for CMB’s next, next big expansion, coming at you spring of 2016. If all goes well, added on to our new 15,000 square foot-building will be another 5,000 square-foot tasting room, plus beer garden and 120-space parking lot. Bartender extraordinaire Jim Zolna wonders aloud which parking spot is his. “You’re over here,” says Ryan, pointing to the blueprint. “Can’t be too close to a school or it violates that law…” (We kid, we kid.)We're-Expanding-med

10:33: Richie Rallo, Justin Vitti, and Justin Vitti’s mustache update everyone on new clients, including farm-to-table friendly Red Hen restaurant in Swedesboro and Red Robin in Mays Landing. That brings the total number of accounts up to — drum roll, please — 149 in Jersey and 71 in Pennsylvania.

10:56: Ryan adds that Cape May’s own Congress Hall is installing a new draught system and putting CMB on tap. Also, a new shipment of kegs is a-coming, and that will “effectively double our inventory.”

10:57: Logistics guy Andrew Ewing confirms that Nugget, the official minivan of CMB, got an oil change last week.

10:59: Because fearless leader Chris Henke is out of town, Brian updates everyone on what went down at the morning’s production meeting, including a statement on how “crushable” that upcoming Session IPA is going to be.

11:05: Richie reviews Beats, Brews, and BBQ, which took place at World Café Live in Philadelphia over the weekend: “It wasn’t a drunk fest at all,” he says. “Good music, good people. It was the first event our two new employees were working, and I was trying to stress to them how much they were being spoiled. They’ll get a rude awakening at AC Beer Fest.” [Insert maniacal laughter here.] For all upcoming events, click here.

11:07: Jim and tap room coordinator Ashley Sundstrom update everyone on the weekend at the tasting room (“Smooth, no issues”) as well as the movement of merchandise (sweatshirts are selling like hot cakes. Or maybe cold beer).

11:12: Ryan, President of the Garden State Craft Brewers Guild, tells everyone to stay tuned for updates from the guild next week, because exciting things are… brewing. In the meantime, meeting is adjourned. Cheers!

‘Drinking Dirty’ by the Numbers

On Friday night, our own Ryan Krill was featured on “Drinking Dirty in Jersey,” a show broadcasted by the “irreverent, entertaining, cool” LA Talk Radio. Program hosts Cassie and Chris Finley — self-described “beer drinking champions of the world” — peppered Ryan with questions about CMB’s

Drinking Dirty in Jersey are the shock jocks of the drinking world
Drinking Dirty in Jersey are the Shock Jocks of the drinking world

history, ongoing expansion, and industrial-chic locale. The action starts at 14:10 here. But if you don’t have time to listen in, here’s the interview in numbers:

1: Number of on-air f-bombs dropped by Ryan

4: Number of specific CMB brews discussed, including the Coastal Evacuation which recently won a silver medal in the Best of Craft Beer Awards in Oregon, aka “IPA country.”

1: Number of accounts CMB started with in 2011 (Cabanas).

300: Number of accounts CMB will have by the end of this summer

2: Number of states in which CMB is currently distributed. (PA and NJ)

47: The ranking of New Jersey in per capita craft breweries when CMB launched. (Today, we’re still only at 40, but we’re climbing!)

>100: Number of beers produced by CMB in its four-year history

21: Number of CMB employees (and counting!)

1,500: The original square footage of the first CMB building. (The square footage of our new addition? 15,000.)

12: The number of gallons produced by our original brew house. The capacity of our new brew house? 30 barrels.

1: The number of comparisons made between “south Jersey guys” and “mellow” Californians. (Unlike farther north where there is “too much expresso and too much cocaine,” says Cassie. All the more reason to head south?)

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