Craft beer brewing becomes a growth industry in New Jersey
Craft beer had hardly any space on the shelves just a decade ago. Today, some liquor stores are limiting how much craft beer a customer can purchase at one time, just so they have enough for everyone.
The industry of specialty brews has been on the upswing, in New Jersey and across the country, and it shows no signs of slowing down.
There are dozens of breweries in the Garden State alone. Dark City Brewing Company is "coming soon" to Asbury Park. Beach Haus Brewery in Belmar is looking forward to a grand opening May 15 on the site of the former Freedman's Bakery.
"Every drop of Beach Haus beer is now being made in Belmar," said president and co-founder John Merklin. "A good lion's share of our business is New Jersey, especially here at the Jersey shore.
The company also has distribution in five other states, including all of Delaware and Maryland.
Beach Haus has nine recipes under its belt, five of which were launched since moving to the new location.
Their Parade Day Stout uses coffee beans from a local lounge. Herb's Rye is a tribute to the patriarch of the former bakery, Herbert Freedman. Beach Haus also offers a classic American pilsner for the most casual of beer drinkers.
Merklin suggested the growth in the industry can be largely attributed to the public's focus on "buying local."
"Folks aren't looking to get something from anywhere," Merklin said. "They're being very particular and purposeful with their purchases."
The wild flavors and concoctions are a big help as well.
At Joe Canal's Discount Liquor Outlet in Lawrenceville, beer purchaser Stephen Kubowitz said the industry has "blown up" over the past few years, and "beer connoisseurs" are always looking for the next best thing.
"It's endless the possibilities of what you can use and add into beer," he said. "There's an unlimited amount of different types of recipes."
Kubowitz pointed to the wild popularity of Carton Brewing out of Atlantic Highlands, whose unique recipes, such as Pumpkin Cream Ale and Intermezzo, constantly leave people wanting more.
"We have to limit how many we can sell because people will just buy cases and follow the delivery trucks and try to get it all," he said. "It's really gone crazy."