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Monday, 22 July 2013 20:01

Brewery tenant in Flying Fish's old site

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A year after Flying Fish Brewing left its founding Cherry Hill location, another brewery tenant has signed up for the place.

Forgotten Boardwalk Brewing finalized its lease in early July for the 13,500-square-foot business park unit on Olney Avenue in Cherry Hill. The company will take over the premises on Sept. 1.

Founder Jamie Queli says Forgotten Boardwalk will produce about five ales for distribution, brewing on a 30-barrel Criveller system. The company plans to use a 1- to 2-barrel pilot system to produce another 50 to 60 beers – think experimental brews – for cycling through the taps of a planned 2,500-square-foot tasting room to be tricked out in a turn-of-the-20th-century-boardwalk theme. The beers themselves (for instance, their names) will share in the throwback boardwalk theme.

"We want to tell the lost stories of the Prohibition-era Jersey Shore that people maybe really don't remember," Jamie says. "When you come into our facility, take the tour of our facility, we're going to transport you there as well. Our tasting room is going to be very turn of the century, industrial revolution, boardwalk-esque. You're going to have the look and feel of the boardwalk in that space."

The brewery's beers will also be adventurous, tilting toward toward experimental hops (even locally grown hops), spices and locally sourced fruits (a cider is on the list of things to have for on-premises.)

"We want to bring in some hops that maybe larger brewers can't get in huge quantities because they're not available in (those) quantities," she says. "Because we're a smaller guy, maybe we'll be able to use some of these more experimental hops that people are growing right now."

Forgotten Boardwalk's packaging plans include canning the full-production beers (portability and environmental friendliness are the factors behind the canning decision); beers that are tasting room hits could very likely be graduated to full batches for wider distribution.

Jamie, who comes to commercial brewing from an institutional banking background, plans to handle the business, marketing and branding side. Her business partner – who is for now keeping to the background – will handle the brewing. However, it's likely a brewer will be hired at some point in the future.

Better beer, Jamie says, became an interest of hers 10 years ago, and has found her exploring craft beers in the U.S. and abroad. She's also a homebrewer.

"I really wanted to take my passion into this industry," she says. "I know there are a lot of breweries that are up and coming, but I really wanted to give it a go, maybe not necessarily be behind the kettle, working in it just the same.

Flying Fish's vacating its starting location in Cherry Hill for a much larger building 10 miles south in Somerdale, was both an opportunity and something that is somewhat symbolic, Jamie says.

"It (the location) worked for how many years for Flying Fish? I figured I'll continue it on," she says.

Still, what was key to taking the property after looking at other sites, she says, is that it proved to be a good fit. It helped that officials from Cherry Hill have accommodating and encouraging, Jamie says.

Right now, the property is as Flying Fish left it last year: plumbing removed and trench drains filled in, restored to the warehouse-like space that Flying Fish, now New Jersey's largest craft brewer, found when it began its buildout in spring/summer 1996.

"We have done nothing with the space yet. We just walked through a couple of times with some architects and engineers. We're drawing up plans and submitting them to the township in the next week or so," Jamie says. "My hope is to start breaking ground September 1st, but I don't know if that's really going to be feasible. The township's been great, though. So if the township approves our plan, we'll break ground immediately."

Sometime early next year is the target for producing beer.

"I'm trying to hedge expectations here," Jamie says. "I think we'll be open the first quarter of 2014. My main goal is to be brewing by April."

Read 9102 times Last modified on Thursday, 15 August 2013 22:12

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