“Local-ish” Brewery Cape May Makes a Splash in a Crowded Landscape

May 16, 2018
Cape May Brewing Co. has made a name for itself in the Philadelphia market, with beers like Cape May IPA and its big brother Coastal Evacuation DIPA, Honey Porter (made with NJ honey) and Devil’s Reach Belgian-style ale. Now, vacations at the Jersey shore are all the better for having a great local beer... that we can also get back home!
Growing up, brewery co-owner Ryan Krill spent his summers at the beach. His family owned a house in Avalon, which is where the idea for the brewery came about. Ryan’s father, Bob Krill (a.k.a Mop Man) and Chris “Hank” Henke (Ryan’s friend from Villanova University) found that the craft beer they loved, wasn’t easy to find at the Jersey shore. So, they decided to do something about it.
After some time spent homebrewing, the trio found a business space near the Cape May airport in 2011. They’ve outgrown that space and now occupy three buildings, with a total of 29,000 square feet. With a spacious tasting room, a sharp little merchandise shop and a growing barrel program, Cape May Brewing Co. has set sail.
Ryan Krill fills us in on what’s happening at his Jersey-based brewery that refuses to sink.
  1. Cape May’s beer sales have been growing: 6,000 barrels in 2016, 10,000 in 2017 and the goal for 2018 is 15,000 barrels (about 207,000 cases).
  2. Everyone at the brewery carries a Credo Card – a wallet-sized card that lists the brewery’s seven core values, which include principles like, Be a Pro, Make it Better, Have Fun and Be a Good Neighbor. 
  3. Almost all their sour beers are barrel-aged. “It’s a popular style for our in-house homebrewing competitions,” says Krill. “The winner gets to do a batch on our system, and brand it, name it and create a label for it.”
  4. Krill is adamant that Cape May is “not an IPA brewery, and not a sour brewery. We’re an innovative, independent brewery. We’re not chasing styles, we’re making new beers of our own.”
  5. Krill explains why his brewery is “local-ish”. “The majority of people at the shore are from the Five County Area, and those vacationers go back home. There’s a strong story there, one that adds a whole layer to the brand.”
  6. The brewery will most likely stop producing big bottles and move towards 12 and 16 oz. cans. But, Krill says, “We’ll still be doing 12 oz. bottles as long as people keep buying them. It’s traditional, it means beer to some people.”
  7. 60% of their beer sales are in draught. “People like it,” says Krill, “especially in the Philly area and in the bars at the shore.”
  8. Beer Connoisseur magazine named Cape May’s sour blonde, The Topsail, best beer of the year in 2017.
  9. Krill says Untappd is an obstacle for some brewers. “If you make a crappy beer, or even a mediocre one, well, everyone knows, and they know right away. It’s making brewers step up their game, and that’s good for everyone in the long run.”
  10. “Profit’s not a bad word! It drives sustainability, too,” says Krill. “If we get a more efficient truck that uses less diesel, if we figure out a way to brew with less electricity, that’s not just good for everyone in general, it also means more profit. That’s how we’re going to build a brewery that makes us proud.


Read more about Cape May Brewing Co. in Draught Line's Summer 2018 Gets Draughted

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