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Sunday, 29 December 2013 20:10

Tuckahoe begins 3rd year with a look back at the start

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Anniversaries are as much about looking forward as they are backward.

For Tuckahoe Brewing, it’s no different.

The northern Cape May County brewery marked a second anniversary in December 2013; the video above is footage from Tuckahoe’s first brew day, Dec. 23, 2011. Talk to the folks there about it, and they’ll give you the backstory and their vision for the future.

Tuckahoe Brewing came online amid a busy year for startups, closing out 2011, the year that saw beer-makers Cape May, Kane and Carton also enter the Garden State craft beer picture.

The video footage was originally intended as shots to go into a larger piece, which never came to fruition. The footage sat unseen (even to the folks at Tuckahoe) on a shelf until now. It shows the mashing in for Dennis Creek Pale Ale, one of Tuckahoe’s flagship beers, on the brewery’s PsychoBrew set-up.

Tuckahoe CasesMatt McDevitt, head brewer and one of Tuckahoe’s founders, tells Beer-Stained Letter:

It's interesting looking back to that video and realizing how little we knew then about our equipment, our beers, and the business of craft beer. We certainly have grown and learned a lot about being owners, brewers, and partners since December of 2011. That being said, I'm sure the next two years will teach us even more. 

Speaking of change, our Dennis Creek Pale Ale, which we were brewing that day, has gone through seven major changes in hop addition schedule, grain bill, and even brewing process since that video was taken. Of course, we have tried to make small adjustments to the beer while remaining true to its origin. 

Since that first year, we have added five new beers to our portfolio with three more in development for the upcoming year. It has always been our goal to focus on perfecting the few beers we make, but with the help of Amanda Cardinali, our assistant brewer, we are constantly experimenting with new styles. She, and her boyfriend Sean, an avid home brewer and microbiologist, are enthusiastic about the art of craft beer and have inspired us to expand our repertoire. 

Besides introducing new beers regularly, we are now packaging our beers in 12-ounce bottles, using our six-head Meheen Merlin bottler/crowner. This format has opened up new markets and accounts for us. Along with bottle shops and liquor stores, for example, bars with limited or non-existent tap space carry us on their bottled beer menu. This has been a great success for us.

We are proud of how we have grown over the past two years but cannot overlook the work our two distributors, Harrison and Konrad, have done to help us in this pursuit. We are looking forward to expanding our production, territory, portfolio and personnel over the next year.

 

Says co-owner Tim Hanna:

I certainly didn't expect us to enjoy as much growth as we have in our first two years. We're at a point now that I initially did not see us reaching until we were at least four or five years into it.

We've taken a cautious approach from the outset: Matt, Chris, and I are still teaching, and Jimmy still has his architect's gig. We expected to grow the business over about a 10-year period before it would be big enough for any of us to be in a position to walk away from our other incomes. We still have that same plan, but we're a few years ahead of schedule in terms of growth, which is a good thing.

Obviously, we've learned a lot about every aspect of owning and operating a brewery, and the industry itself.

One of the interesting things about that has been the dynamic nature of the brewing industry over the past two years. There were a lot of breweries who had the foresight to get into it before us, but the number of breweries that has started since we got our license is just as noteworthy. It will be interesting to see how the industry handles this expansion in the next few years. Certainly, beer lovers have a lot more to choose from than they did even just two years ago.

We're excited to have eight beers in our lineup at the moment, and are really pleased to have the beers out in 12-ounce format.

We chose to put our resources into a bottling machine, rather than upgrade the size of our brewhouse, with our first expansion this past spring and summer. With all of the beers that are out there right now, the competition for tap handles is tough, and bottling gives us a lot more opportunity to get our beers into people's hands.

Our plan for growth at the moment is to upgrade our brewhouse within the next 24 months. This might necessitate a move into a new location, which involves not only a ton of physical concerns, but a lot of governmental concerns as well, so the adventure continues.

 

 

Read 4515 times Last modified on Monday, 30 December 2013 20:10

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