On Wednesday, May 3, Ryan headed up to Freehold to speak at the FoodBizNJ conference. A day of education and networking, FoodBizNJ benefits business owners and operators in the food and beverage industries, bringing together buyers and sellers in this industry to stimulate business, educate, and inspire.
“It was a fun day,” Ryan tells us. “I think people kind of ran out of steam by the time my panel rolled around, but the morning was well-attended.”
Ryan spoke on a panel called “Wineries and Distilleries: Developing Distributor Channels,” along with Tom Cosentino, Executive Director of the Garden State Wine Growers Association; Amy Sutton, Director of Sales, Marketing & Development at Claremont Distilled Spirits; and Charles Rosen, Founder & CEO of Jersey Cider Works. The panel was moderated by James J. McGovern, III, Partner in the Alcohol and Regulated Products Law Practice Group of Genova Burns, LLC.
One of the questions Ryan gets asked a lot has to do with market saturation. Breweries are popping up everywhere, and, while we love the friendly competition, eventually we’re going to reach a tipping point.
“I think the ones who make really great beer are building a strong following,” he said. “I think New Jersey beer’s going to continue to grow, but we may see some folks fall off.”
However, everyone seems to be recognizing the value of beverage tourism. At CMBC, we certainly love our out-of-towners — it’s part of our reality of being in a shore town. But the entire industry — wineries, distilleries, cideries, and breweries — are coming to the realization that people are beginning to mold their vacations around their favorite beverage.
“The picture we’ve tried to paint over the past few years,” he said, “is that beer isn’t a new thing, and that beverage tourism is real. It’s taken them awhile to believe us, but then we showed them that 41 million people live within 200 miles of a brewery in New Jersey. A lot of those people want to see where their beer comes from.”
Of course, if Ryan’s going anywhere he’s bringing some beer with him. Our Greeter Mary Braccili worked the event with him, serving up some King Porter Stomp, Demisemi, and Cape May IPA.
“There were LOTS of Villanova alums there, and they all loved Demisemi,” she says. “Even the Seton Hall and St. Joe’s people liked it. We had a good laugh about that.”
King Porter Stomp was particularly well-received, with one attendant saying that it was the best chocolate porter he’d ever sampled. “Everyone commented on how well-balanced KPS is,” she says. “People know how difficult that is to find in a chocolate porter. There’s either too much chocolate or not enough, but everyone thought we nailed it.”
There were a few people who had been to our Tasting Room and a few who caught our recent Tap Takeover at the Cloverleaf. “North Jerseyans are VERY excited for CMBC to head further north,” Mary tells us.
We’ll get there soon, guys!
In all, CMBC had a strong day in Freehold, helping the food industry to figure out exactly how beer is going to fit in the mix in the coming years.
“While beer is an old beverage, it’s a new industry in New Jersey,” Ryan says. “Craft alcohol manufacturing is a new thing and the state is trying to figure out how to handle the influx of all these creative folks doing cool shit in our state.”
And, as long as you guys keep supporting us, CMBC will continue to be at the forefront of folks doing cool shit.