Two brewery openings on Saturday to highlight.
It’s a soft opening for Spellbound, a public debut by Mount Holly’s second craft brewery to open in less than a year. (Spellbound’s just under a mile away from Village Idiot Brewing. Look for Village Idiot to also be at the Witches Ball; Flying Fish will also be pouring there.) The brewery is also among sponsors of 5k charity race the next day.
Co-owner John Companick explains further in the video.
Elsewhere, Forgotten Boardwalk opens to the general public. The Cherry Hill brewery has been teasing its beers to a members-only club over the past couple of weeks. FB opens at noon.
The IPA, brewed Sunday (Sept. 21), christened Spellbound's Premier Stainless brewhouse. A soft opening to coincide with Mount Holly's annual Witches Ball on Oct. 11 is planned (keep an eye on the brewery’s website and Facebook page for details); there's also a small-batch barleywine, aged in a Dad’s Hat Rye whiskey barrel, in the works for the brewery's 150-strong founders club membership.
“We had 150 people who saw the passion we had – a lot of them we don’t even know … people as far as Arizona,” John Companick, who co-founded Spellbound with business partners Mike Oliver and Scott Reading, tells Beer-Stained Letter. “We’re going to have barrels; we’re going to do all kinds of crazy stuff, our passion is going to be into that.”
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The pace of new brewery launches remains steady in the Garden State, and Spellbound actually gets eclipsed for the title of being the newest by Forgotten Boardwalk Brewing, which moved into Flying Fish Brewing's original home in Cherry Hill a year after Flying Fish relocated to Somerdale. (Forgotten Boardwalk folks didn’t respond to an email for comment.)
Forgotten Boardwalk announced on Friday it got the green light from the state and released a video that trumpets an Oct. 11 grand opening.
Spellbound's license came through the day before, making its host town, Mount Holly, a two-craft brewery town and an interesting case study into the economic power of craft brewing.
A quick update from startup brewery Spellbound in Mount Holly ...
The brewery's equipment has been in for a while and now awaits power. Electricians will be on site for a couple of weeks, and an order of cans for packaging has been placed, says co-founder John Companick.
The tasting room is in the finishing-up stage, and John says he and co-founders Mike Oliver and Scott Reading are now looking at opening some time in September, a little later than originally forecast, but delays are not uncommon with any construction project.
Getting oriented in the 10-tap tasting room: The far door on the right is the entrance; the dark door on the left, just off the bar, leads to the brewery area. Windows that look out on the brewhouse are behind the bar. (Photo courtesty of Spellbound Brewing)
After a parade of stainless steel-laden trucks to Spellbound Brewing’s loading dock, the next delivery truck to pull up will most likely be loaded with malt and hops, yet another signal of “beer soon” from the Mount Holly craft brewery.
On Wednesday, a canning line was offloaded at Spellbound, the last of the equipment that co-owners John Companick, Mike Oliver and Scott Reading acquired to outfit their production brewery.
“All the equipment we need is in the building,” John tells Beer-Stained Letter. “It’s nice seeing it here, knowing that we don’t have to wait for another (equipment) truck to back up. The next truck that backs up is going to have our ingredients.”
On Wednesday evening, the Cask ACS line, capable of putting up 30 cans a minute, sat freshly uncrated, waiting to be tucked into its spot in the brewery floor plan.
There’s still some crucial work ahead, i.e. electrical work and completing the coldboxes. But the finish line is very close, John says, and a summer opening with eight to 10 taps in the tasting room is within reach.
“Right now, we’re just working on finishing up the electrical, getting the permits; same thing with the plumbing,” John says. “Then we're down to getting our certificate of occupancy, getting our OK from the state after inspection, and then we’re ready to go.”
When that happens, Spellbound will become the second Mount Holly craft brewery to open its doors. Village Idiot Brewing opened late last year just three miles away along High Street, the main thoroughfare through the town, the county seat of Burlington County.
The 40-barrel fermenter and brite tanks arrived Monday at the Mount Holly brewery, where they were promptly set upright on the freshly finished floors of the brewing area.
Spellbound also took delivery of its chiller on Monday.
More equipment is on the way, namely the 20-barrel brewhouse; that’s due in a week. The company is still on track for brewing to begin around June-July, says John Companick, who co-founded Spellbound with Mike Oliver and Scott Reading.
It’s April, and the new month finds startup Spellbound Brewing with a green light from federal regulators, plus a super-busy calendar for a brewery buildout delayed by a rough, snowy winter.
Now that the trio of John Companick, Scott Reading and Mike Oliver (that's them in the photo) have the keys to a business park suite at 10 Lippincott Lane in Mount Holly, attention turns toward acquiring the brewing equipment that will ultimately make Spellbound's lineup of ales.
The 20-barrel brewhouse and related tanks will come from Premier Stainless, and the trio are about ready to push the button on placing the order.
Meanwhile, there's the matter of getting into shape the interior and grounds of the site they officially leased in late September. (The place was once a textile mill.)
Figure on a winter's worth of cleanup and renovation in Spellbound's immediate future.
Target date for opening? They're projecting mid-spring-ish.
If you're tracking Spellbound be flexible, though. There's generally an obstacle or two that needs to be cleared, and that can slow things.
The Spellbound folks hope all the research they've sunk into their planning will help keep the project moving along steadily, minimize the hiccups.
A warehouse fire in Washington State and bad weather in Europe were making big waves in the hops market, driving prices up. Steel prices also spiked.
The prospects weren't good for the brewery John hoped to open and make the jump from homebrewer to pro brewer.
Every Monday enjoy half price wings* and $1 off all craft beers**, along with $3 featured craft drafts at the Washington Township location of The Village Pub. *Dine in only, to-go orders not included. **Some