EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP – Tuckahoe Brewing Company, currently based in the Ocean View section of Dennis Township, is positioning itself for a growth spurt through its upcoming move to a higher-profile location in Egg Harbor Township.
With the larger leased space on English Creek Avenue and new equipment purchased from a North Carolina brewery that recently closed, the owners of the 3-year-old craft beer operation expect to increase production.
Pending a transfer of its brewery liquor license and a few renovations inside the building, they hope to be up and running by April or May. The 10,000-square-foot space is inside a building owned by RSL Inc., near the corner of English Creek and Reega avenues in the English Creek section of the township. The new site is six times the size of the Cape May County location, which will close when the new one is ready.
Tim Hanna, one of the brewery’s owners, said they recently purchased a 15-barrel brewhouse – a large-scale piece of equipment that will allow the company to double its production once it is fully in use.
“We currently produce about 500 barrels a year,” said Hanna, who is an English teacher at Mainland Regional High School in Linwood. “This equipment should let us get up into the 2,000-barrel-per year range. It’s a very nice system.”
He said the new site allows better exposure and accessibility to a larger population than that available in Ocean View. This section is one of Egg Harbor Township’s most heavily traveled areas, surrounded by residential neighborhoods and other businesses.
“This move will really set our business up for the next step,” Hanna said. “It gives us more space and definitely more visibility.”
Hanna said there will be a retail space and a tasting area, noting that once the brewery is open for business, the hours are expected to match those that had been offered at the Ocean View location.
Tuckahoe Brewery currently offer tours, tastings and sales 5-8 p.m. Fridays and noon-6 p.m. Saturdays.
“We want to be good neighbors and ease into this space,” Hanna said.
The potential growth of Tuckahoe Brewing Company matches a rising trend throughout the state, he said.
While not as robust as in states like Colorado and California, New Jersey’s craft beer industry is growing exponentially, and the clientele is shifting in part due to beer-friendly legislation signed into law in 2012.
The law (S-641/A-1277), authorized breweries to increase production up to 10,000 barrels a year, and allows wider distribution of their beers to restaurants and liquor stores along with ability to offer samples onsite.
Hanna said when they received their license three years ago, there were only about 10 such licenses in the state. Now there are 20, with just as many in development.
He attributes the growth to the new law, which allows breweries to sell pints and make other retail sales, making opening a brewery a more viable business option.
He said the demand for craft beer has also expanded.
“New Jersey is definitely catching up,” he said. “When you used to go to craft beer festivals, there was a certain look to the people who would attend. It doesn’t look that way anymore. There are a lot of younger people, and a lot of women getting into craft beers.”
He said the turning of the tide is evident within the walls of Tuckahoe Brewing Company, where the assistant brewmaster is Amanda Cardinall of Galloway, a 2102 graduate of Richard Stockton College.
“Typically you find few women in brewhouses,” Hanna said. “We are really proud that we were able to give her that opportunity, and she’s doing an outstanding job.”
The company’s brews are currently on tap at 60 bars and restaurants around South Jersey and on the shelves of 60 retail businesses.
“As we increase production, we are hoping to increase the distribution wider,” he said.
The brewery’s Dennis Creek Pale Ale, which represents about 30 percent of sales, will continue to be produced, as will the other year-round flavors, Steelmanville Porter, Anglesea Irish Red Ale and Reed’s Bay IPA.
Seasonal brews like the New Brighton Coffee Stout and other new recipes in the works will also be added periodically, Hanna said.
The company is co-owned by teachers Matt McDevitt and Chris Konicki, architect Jim McAfee and newly added partner Stu Stromfeld.*
*A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Stromfeld was a partner in Joe Canal’s Liquor Store. Stromfeld formerly owned a share in the business, but is no longer involved with its ownership.