RIO GRANDE, N.J. – Cape May Brewing Co. traces its roots to a couple of best friends from college who decided to brew 50 gallons of beer in one of their backyards two years ago.
It since has grown to relocate into a business park near Cape May County Airport and experience an increasing demand for their brews as the first craft brewer to enter the business full time in South Jersey.
“We started with one account in Cape May and now have 24 bars on a waiting list,” said Jim Zolna, the bartender at the company’s brew pub in Rio Grande, N.J.
“We can’t keep up with the demand,” said Zolna, while leading one of the company’s popular brewery tours in a beach tourist destination that attracts many visitors with a taste for craft beer.
Cape May IPA is the only local craft beer to found in many bars south of Wildwood, and the closest competitor is 28 miles to the north of Rio Grande. Its taps are easily recoganized because they are shaped like the state of New Jersey.
A $10 tour will get you a souvenir Cape May Brewing Co. beer glass and four 4-ounce tastings from the dozen taps behind the 40-foot bar. Additional tastings can be purchased following a tour under rules set forth in the New Jersey liquor code.
This company owned by Ryan Krill, his father, Bob, and Chris Henke is on to something at the right time as the craft beer industry in the United States has grown to eat up more than 10 percent of beer sales.
And, these guys are turning out great brews, including the intensely hoppy Centennial IPA, which won the best IPA prize at the 2012 Atlantic City Beer Festival.
Cape May Brewing now has 48 clients and plans to expand to a bigger building and have a bottling operation set up in November.