LOWER TOWNSHIP — They began in 2011 brewing just 12 gallons of beer at a time. They only had one customer, Cabanas in Cape May, back then.

On Friday, the Cape May Brewing Company dedicated a new brewhouse at the Cape May Airport that has the capacity to produce 15,000 barrels per year. Each barrel is 31 gallons — or more than twice their original production. The cooler is bigger than the original brewery. They also added a bottling system.

Combined with the old facility, which will still produce 1,200 barrels per year, the company should have no problem supplying the 300 bars and restaurants, as well as their own tasting room, vying for their suds.

But that wasn’t what brought a gaggle of elected officials to Friday’s dedication. They came because of a much smaller but no less significant number: 30.

That’s how many year-round jobs the brewery will now supply. It began with just college buddies Ryan Krill and Chris Henke, along with Ryan’s father Robert.

“This building allows us to increase capacity. It allows us to increase jobs. More importantly, it allows us to give back to the community that supported us in the beginning, and what better way to do that than over a beer,” said Ryan Krill.

The public hears plenty of stories about small businesses getting abused by the government. This story is the opposite. Lower Township gave them economic development loans while Cape May County, which owns the airport, and the Delaware River and Bay Authority, which operates it, worked with them to get them more and more space as they expanded.

In the end, noted U.S Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-2nd, it came down to “sweat equity and a lot of risk” by the founders and the best thing government could do is not present roadblocks.

“This exemplifies the American spirit and the American dream. The best thing we as government can do is get out of your way and get out of your pocket,” said LoBiondo.

Freeholder Will Morey said the type of business, 10 to 30 employees, is exactly the type of business Cape May County values.

Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi, R-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic, noted that President Ronald Reagan may have summed it up best.

“He said small businesses and entrepreneurs are responsible for about all economic growth, and that’s what you have here today,” said Fiocchi.

The brewery produced 3,000 barrels last year and will at least double that this year as they make their way to fully utilizing the new brew-house. Henke said there is no problem selling it. Whatever they produce, the craft beer market seems “to soak it right up.”

DRBA Executive Director Scott Green said a prospective tenant recently asked him how he intended to revive the economic climate at the airport, which also includes an industrial park.

“I said beer.”

The plan seems to already be working.

Contact Richard Degener:

609-463-6711

LOWER TOWNSHIP — They began in 2011 brewing just 12 gallons of beer at a time. They only had one customer, Cabanas in Cape May, back then.

On Friday, the Cape May Brewing Company dedicated a new brewhouse at the Cape May Airport that has the capacity to produce 15,000 barrels per year. Each barrel is 31 gallons — or more than twice their original production. The cooler is bigger than the original brewery. They also added a bottling system.

Combined with the old facility, which will still produce 1,200 barrels per year, the company should have no problem supplying the 300 bars and restaurants, as well as their own tasting room, vying for their suds.

But that wasn’t what brought a gaggle of elected officials to Friday’s dedication. They came because of a much smaller but no less significant number: 30.

That’s how many year-round jobs the brewery will now supply. It began with just college buddies Ryan Krill and Chris Henke, along with Ryan’s father Robert.

“This building allows us to increase capacity. It allows us to increase jobs. More importantly, it allows us to give back to the community that supported us in the beginning, and what better way to do that than over a beer,” said Ryan Krill.

The public hears plenty of stories about small businesses getting abused by the government. This story is the opposite. Lower Township gave them economic development loans while Cape May County, which owns the airport, and the Delaware River and Bay Authority, which operates it, worked with them to get them more and more space as they expanded.

In the end, noted U.S Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-2nd, it came down to “sweat equity and a lot of risk” by the founders and the best thing government could do is not present roadblocks.

“This exemplifies the American spirit and the American dream. The best thing we as government can do is get out of your way and get out of your pocket,” said LoBiondo.

Freeholder Will Morey said the type of business, 10 to 30 employees, is exactly the type of business Cape May County values.

Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi, R-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic, noted that President Ronald Reagan may have summed it up best.

“He said small businesses and entrepreneurs are responsible for about all economic growth, and that’s what you have here today,” said Fiocchi.

The brewery produced 3,000 barrels last year and will at least double that this year as they make their way to fully utilizing the new brew-house. Henke said there is no problem selling it. Whatever they produce, the craft beer market seems “to soak it right up.”

DRBA Executive Director Scott Green said a prospective tenant recently asked him how he intended to revive the economic climate at the airport, which also includes an industrial park.

“I said beer.”

The plan seems to already be working.

Contact Richard Degener:

609-463-6711

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Gannett/USAToday breaking news reporter at Asbury Park Press; Associate Editor at The Current; Associate Editor, Diocese of Camden Catholic Star Herald; Associate Editor, The Sentinel in Ocean City; general assignment news reporter with The Press.

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