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The Official Blog of Cape May Brewing Company

And The Nomination Goes To…

Congratulations to CMBC co-founder and president of the Garden State Craft Brewers Guild, Ryan Krill. The Brewers Association (BA) hasvote accepted his nomination to stand for a voting member position on their board of directors.

Reminder: The Brewers Association is the not-for-profit trade organization meant to protect the interests of craft brewers. Currently, the association represents more than 2,800 American breweries and 45,000 members of the American Homebrewers Association, as well as beer distributors, marketers, and allied trade peeps. The BA works to ensure the quality and availability of necessary beer-making ingredients, advocates for job creation legislation and ethical trade practices, compiles resources that are beneficial to the industry, and otherwise celebrates and nourishes a healthy and collaborative craft brewing community.

Two of the BA’s eight packaging brewery positions are currently up for grabs, open for three-year terms beginning February of 2016, and Ryan is the only contender from the MidAtlantic Region. If successful in his bid, he will become one of the select brewers “really steering the BA,” according to Rob Tod, Vice Chair of the Brewers Association Board, in a recent post. And he’ll apply the same passion he brings to Cape May Brew Co and the great Garden State.

Voting is open to BA members until Halloween. In the meantime, check out Ryan’s campaign video below:



An Update From The Guild

On October 5, approximately 40 members of the Garden State Craft Brewers Guild held their monthly meeting at Kane Brewing Company. Garden State Brewers Guild LogoHere’s what you need to know:

  1. Don Russell ran the show for the first time as Executive Director.
  2. All agreed that last month’s Brews by the Bay festival was a grand time — it drew over 1,000 people to the Cape May terminal of the Cape May-Lewes Ferry.
  3. Michael Halfacre, former Director of the New Jersey Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and current Guild lawyer, sponsored the meeting, and gave a rundown of the step-by-step process for new breweries looking to obtain a licence.
  4. The Garden State Craft Brewers Guild has hit a record high of 85 members.
  5. November’s meeting will see nominations for the Guild’s Board of Directors. Stay tuned…

Making Laws and Taking Names

Trying to get a bill signed into law is like trying to conceive a baby. There are many, ahem, swimmers in the running, but most do not stand a chance.

Take the 2012 law that allowed for tasting rooms at Jersey breweries. It was a huge deal for the industry, and a major factor in our expansion from one employee to 37. But according to Eric Orlando, VP of the Kaufman Zita Group which handles lobbying for the Garden State Craft Brewers Guild, the original bill had only a 4.6 percent chance of surviving the legislative process and getting an a-okay from Governor Christie.

“There are so many ways a piece of legislation can short-circuit,” Eric says. “And because the alcohol industry is so highly regulated, there’s an added layer of complication when dealing with beer-related bills.”

For many of us, knowledge about the legislative process comes largely from watching House of Cards. And while “there are definitely elements of that show that are true,” Eric says, Netflix fails at providing us with a clear idea of logistics. We’re talking about the step-by-steps of the law-making process we first heard about via Schoolhouse Rock.

Given the three bills sponsored by Senators Kean and Barnes and Assemblymen Coughlin and O’Scanion —  the ones that would allow, respectively, for the sale of food at Jersey’s tasting rooms, the sale of beer at farmers’ markets, and the ability of brewpubs to self-distribute their product — we thought we’d put together a flowchart that explains the timeline. Keep in mind, the meat of the process detailed below can take anywhere from one week to several years.

Presenting: how a bill becomes a law in New Jersey, because it’s not as simple as you think…

(Our nifty chart will get bigger if you click on it.)


News From The Guild

America’s best-known beer writer, Don Russell, will become first Executive Director of the Garden State Craft Brewers GuildGarden State Brewers Guild Logo this month.

Just in case you need a refresher: the not-for-profit association that advocates on behalf of Jersey’s artisanal beer makers started out in 1996 as a small collection of passionate volunteers. “There was a time,” says leader/CMBC President Ryan Krill, “when the entire group could fit around a single restaurant booth.” But as the industry has boomed – it now pumps $776.9 million into the local economy annually — the Guild has expanded, too.

“Our board has always done an excellent job of steering the ship,” Ryan says. “But they’re also busy running their own breweries. With a membership that’s more than tripled in the last couple of years, it’s become clear: we need a captain. Don will help bring Jersey craft beer to the next level through advocacy and education, and we’re thrilled to have him on board.”

sixpack-mugshotRussell brings with him 40 years of experience as an award-winning newspaper reporter, including 20 years as Joe Sixpack, beer columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News. He’s the founder and creator of Philly Beer Week, America’s first city-wide beer festival, and the author of three books, including Joe Sixpack’s Philly Beer Guide: A Reporter’s Notes on the Best Beer-Drinking City in America; Christmas Beer: The Cheeriest, Tastiest Most Unusual Beers of Christmas; and What the Hell am I Drinking? He’s also worked as a traveling ambassador on behalf of the US Department of State, and as a brewery tour guide throughout Europe and America.

But, Don says, he couldn’t be happier about landing this position in Jersey.

“The state’s been the punchline of many jokes,” he says. “But Jersey Fresh is one of the great slogans. The concept has become institutionalized, and it applies to the beer. That reputation is a source of pride for the craft drinkers here. We’re at the beginning of an explosive growth, and I love being on the cusp of that surge.”

Don says his goals include bolstering the Guild’s presence not just amongst brewers but within the beer-drinking community, spreading the good word about the positive effects of craft beer on the state’s economy and tourism industry, and growing a brand that’s separate from the influence of Philadelphia and New York.

But first thing’s first.

“My initial order of business,” he says, “is to crack open a Jersey beer.”


Political Update

They say that political discussions have no place at the dinner table.

Welp, we hope you’re not eating dinner, because this week’s been a doozy.

Garden State Brewers Guild LogoOn Monday, there was a meeting of the Garden State Craft Brewers Guild, and on the agenda was a discussion of current beer-related legislation, including Bill S2910, which would allow breweries like to CMBC to sell beer at farmers markets and, ultimately, “grow the state’s agriculture and tourism economies,” according to Senator Tom Kean. Another current bill, S2911, would allow customers to bring their own food to tasting rooms.

“Only in New Jersey do you need a law permitting something that’s already allowed,” says CMBC/Guild President Ryan Krill, referring to the fact that bringing food into a tasting room isn’t technically prohibited under current legislation. “The laws are just murky.”

So, for several months, Ryan and other members of the Guild’s board have been meeting with legislators across the state in order to open a dialogue that will, hopefully, lead to some clarification.

“The lawmakers have been receptive,” he says. “They know bills like this will create jobs, and we have the stories and people to back that up. Beer is a bipartisan issue.”

Then, later in the week, Ryan met with New Jersey’s Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno and Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi in order to talk economic sustainability and share some pretty swell statistics about how small brewers contribute. For instance: More than four million pounds of spent grain from Jersey breweries are recycled annually, and used by state farmers for high-quality animal feed.

Finally, Ryan left for the annual “Hill Climb” happening now in Washington DC. Here, over 200 industry leaders will fight the good fight for the Small BREW Act, legislation that would lower the federal excise tax for America’s small brewers, allowing for greater job creation and “reinvigoration of local economies.”

We’ll keep you posted on how it all turns out. In the meantime, back to your regularly scheduled dinner conversation.

Ryan meets with some of Jersey's movers and shakers, including Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno and Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi.
Ryan meets with some of Jersey’s movers and shakers, including Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno and Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi.

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!

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