COLTS NECK, NJ: Many words come to the mind when thinking of the town of Colts Neck; well preserved, bucolic, rural, farmland, equestrian, peaceful, affluent, organic, successful, discerning… It’s a town away from the hustle bustle, a place where you can go to pick fruits and enjoy the parks and fields and unobstructed sunsets. It feels like going back in time, or at least feels like you are in the middle of a rural state, and not just an hour outside of New York City.
The land, the people and the products produced here make it a very special place to live, work and raise a family. The success of many of the folks in town is self-made and they are hardworking. Companies that launch themselves in Colts Neck know that the town appreciates hand crafted items with attention to detail. Colts Neck over the years has paid careful attention to detail in terms of its land use, development patterns, zoning and most certainly the quality and types of businesses that are approved in town. Source Brewing shares Colts Neck’s dedication to farming and as a fermenter of craft brew, they are seamlessly entering the scene.
TAPinto Holmdel & Colts Neck met to interview the founding team of the first farmstead brewery in Colts Neck; Keri Petracca along with self proclaimed beer nerds, Philip Petracca and Greg Taylor. The interview took place at the café inside Delicious Orchards, located right next door to Colts Neck’s historic 125 year old barn situated on 1.75 acres, that is set to be the home of Source Brewing. The partners of Source Brewery are taking great pride in their meticulous preservation of the historic barn, an old dairy farm originally built and owned by Benjamin T. Mathews. Mathews was born in Colts Neck in 1809, a descendant from one of the original Colts Neck families that settled in Colts Neck in the 1700’s. Source Brewing is committed to preserving as much as they can of the original structure, with designs to use the two famous silos as the restrooms for the brewery taproom.
Source Brewing is dedicated to local agriculture, currently sourcing ingredients from local farms and businesses such as a combined five hundred acre farm in Colts Neck, that will produce requested crops like barley, rye and wheat, local hop farmers, Delicious Orchards, and the Honey Shoppe. Source Brewing is also interested in collaborating with educators for agricultural programs and are in discussions currently with Rutgers University. Something delicious and different is brewing in Colts Neck, and TAPinto is looking forward to the opening planned for fall 2018!
TAPinto: How did you decide to get into the beer brewing business?
Philip Petracca, “Four years ago I formed a business called Fizzics, focused on elevating the ‘at home beer drinking experience’. When you drink beer fresh from the brewer’s tap it tastes best, drinking it from cans and bottles at home doesn’t taste quite the same. That has to do with the ideal level of carbonation and the foam on beer, which is one of the most critical elements in the beer drinking experience because that is where the beer and malt derives its aroma. Wine drinkers are accustomed to the cache of decanters and aerators, things that enhance the wine drinking experience. With Fizzics we developed the technology to provide the best possible aroma and texture of beer. There’s a big excitement around beer today, even though it’s actually a beverage that dates back 9000 years. Post prohibition all the small microbreweries has just recently surpassed the number of breweries in the U.S. that we had pre-prohibition. So, pre-prohibition breweries were very common, very community- based, sourcing ingredients from local agriculture. Post prohibition is when the conglomerates took over the beer industry. Even today there are two foreign beer entities that produce 80 percent of the beer consumed in the U.S. However, over the last ten years the beer industry has been going through a renaissance that’s been driven by the craft brewers. Today, craft brewing is ushering in beer as it was originally created to be made and the consumer base is stronger than ever.”
TAPinto: Speaking of Fizzics, I understand that you and your Fizzics partner made a successful pitch to the ABC Hit show Shark Tank, and amazingly walked away with the second highest straight equity deal in Shark Tank History, a $2 million equity deal for 16.67 percent of the company with Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner. So then where does that successful venture fit with this new venture and how did you and your wife Keri partner with your brew master Greg?
P.Petracca: “I’m totally dedicating my professional time to Source, and my Fizzic’s business partner is overseeing our Fizzics business. He’s running the day to day company, with our at home brewing products now successfully sold in multiple countries and easily purchased on Amazon and in stores such as Bed Bath and Beyond and Best Buy. Launching that business and the product we created built a great foundation for Source Brewing. I met our Source business partner, our lead brewer, Greg Taylor at Weyerbacher’s Brewery in Easton PA, where he was working as a master brewer. I interviewed him and shared our Fizzic’s technology and began to learn about Greg’s knowledge and passion for brewing. We hit if off immediately and soon after Greg called and said he decided to join us. That was almost two years ago. We began brewing test batches of different types of beer for teambuilding, and to sample for about a year or so.Before 2013, there were less than 10 breweries in the state of NJ. Then legislation was passed to make it possible for more breweries to open in the state. However, many are in industrial areas, some have a tap room, but for the most part they are not the type of place to share a comfortable evening with family. So, Greg and I conceptualized a farmstead brewery where we would source local ingredients; a ‘farm to glass’ establishment where you can bring your family, and that’s how we came up with the name Source Brewing! Colts Neck with its history rich in agriculture is a town we focused on to make our concept a reality--to create a brewery that was inviting for families in an environment rich in agriculture.”
TAPinto: Speaking of sourcing, water is a primary ingredient in beer, where are you sourcing your water from?
P.Petracca: "In Colts Neck there is an amazing aquifer that runs through the state, passing right under Colts Neck. So, we are digging down 300 feet to tap into that and get the purest source of water. Greg, our master brewer will then based on beer style, add the minerals and contents… The true essence of our brewery is that you would drink your beer from the source. The location, the ingredients and the water, all sourced from Colts Neck. You know what you are drinking and it’s all local, all Colts Neck."
TAPinto: Ok, now I’m really understanding your model. It’s hyperlocal like the TAPinto news model where we source all of our news everyday locally. So, you plan to source as much of your ingredients locally as possible. Will you have a kitchen and be serving food?
Keri Petracca: "It’s a BYOF! Yes that’s Bring Your Own Food! It will be a Source of happiness. A place where you can just enjoy the grounds while enjoying your favorite beers while enjoying your favorite foods. We will not be serving food, but the great news is we have the perfect next door neighbor in Delicious Orchards (D.O.). At D.O. you can put together a delicious sampling of easy grab foods, artisanal cheese plates, or if you want a meal with all the fixings, D.O. has a delicious prepared food section. For us at Source, D.O. has unlimited ingredients for brewing. Their famous cider for example, which we are really looking forward to brewing with! A few months ago we made an amazing pilot batch using D.O. ingredients, their red sweet potatoes, cranberries, cinnamon and Madagascar vanilla bean. We already have relationships with local coffee roasters, and we did a pilot with Rook's cold brew. Source Brewery will have welcoming family seating available inside, and outside for the warmer seasons too. It will be a place great for family and friends to gather, enjoy a great beer, while the children play and the family dog is welcome too! The inside will have games, one wall is dedicated as a giant scrabble game, corn hole games, a giant Connect Four...Source Brewing is also about sustainability. We have plans in place to repurpose our spent grains from the brewing process. They are an excellent resource for compost and livestock feed and we plan to give them to local farmers to use for fertilizer. Our young teenage daughter Bella in an environmentally conscious and entrepreneurial spirit, has been using the spent grains from our test batches to make healthy and delicious dog biscuits! We even found some old wagon wheels on the property that we intend to repurpose as a base to make a few light fixtures for the taproom."
TAPinto: Greg, what is the history behind you becoming the lead brewer for Source Brewing:
Greg Taylor: “I was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to do some extended travel and studies throughout Europe at a young age. I was introduced to more flavor intensive beer in Belgium, and it opened my eyes early on to the world of brewing. I appreciated sampling different types of beer and learning about the unique ingredients and the history of different beer styles. I came back to the U.S. and ordered a home brewing kit and I’ve been brewing since that day. I began to read absolutely everything that I could about beer and brewing. I then switched my career path from restaurant management to brewing and started taking specialized courses. I attended the oldest brewing institution in the country; The Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago, who along in partnership with Doemens Academy in Munich, Germany, has a program, called The World Brewing Academy. At The Siebel Institute in Chicago, I learned the brewing theory from lectures with the top brewing industry experts from all over the world. Then in Germany, I had hands on experience in brewing and chemistry. From there I came back to the U.S. and immersed myself in the brewing experience, at Weyerbacher’s Brewery in P.A. and learned so much from excellent brewers there. Then I met Philip and here we are. I’m so excited about Source Brewing. We are going to create a destination for people to always come back to on a regular basis, knowing they will have a great beer experience. The recipes are limitless especially with all of the local ingredients available to us."
TAPinto: Describe the Source Brewing Concept:
Taylor: We will brew to season depending on what is being harvested here in Colts Neck. At Source we will always have something fresh, new and rotating available. At any given time there will be a variety of IPA’s, (west coast, New England Style, Double IPA’s Seasonal IPA’s), and being we are a farmstead brewery we will also brew a variety of saisons and Belgian-style ales. Additionally, there will always be stouts, porters and other malt forward ales, along with traditional German style lagers. For popular beers we may keep 5-6 regular favorites on tap year round. Source will have a spectrum of colors, aromas and flavors. At any given time there will be 20 different varieties of beer on tap. We will collaborate with different brewers in NJ and out of state, to create special limited batches that once they are gone they are gone. It is important to inform our guests about the different beer styles and be transparent with them about our ingredients and brewing process."
TAPinto: Doing a little research it seems Kane Brewery is very popular in NJ and is consistently rated number one in New Jersey. How will Source compare/differentiate itself from Kane and other Breweries in general?
Taylor: “We are all big fans of Kane's beers, but our Farmstead Brewery model is very different from their production model so we will not be competing with them. We want you to come to our Brewery and drink from the Source. We will curate the entire beer drinking experience for our guests. All details will be considered to deliver the best drinking experience possible. For example, details like serving temperature, glassware based on beer style, carbonation levels and amount of foam, etc. We have no desire to become a large production brewery, in fact our capacity will max out at about 3500 barrels of beer a year.
K. Petrecci: "What differentiates us also is the location. We are about the location and what we can source from our land and surrounding area. We offer a couple acres to enjoy, a rooftop terrace, a beer garden, room to run and play for the kids, a tap room, a comfortable inside with unique family games. For example one of our walls will be a giant game of scrabble that family and friends can play while enjoying time together at Source…We will have tours of our brewery and also we will have a glass wall for brewing viewing!"
P. Petrecci: "We all enjoy Kane beer. One differentiator is that Source Brewing is a Farmstead Brewery. We have some really great news to share. We've been brewing pilot batches (sometimes out of my garage where a lot of my work has started), and we decided to enter the recent 7th Annual New York International Beer Competition. We are so excited to share that there were 600 submissions from 14 countries, and we won a silver medal for our Russian Imperial Stout, and also we feel very honored to announce that Source Brewing won New Jersey Brewery of the Year!"
VIEW VIDEO: See and hear co-founder and Lead Brewer of Source Brewing, Greg Taylor explain the layout planned for Source Brewing.
TAPinto: Colts Neck Stillhouse is opening right in front of your Source Brewing establishment. Are you going to be collaborating on anything together?
Taylor: "Our businesses are so complimentary to one another and we are looking forward to collaborating with the owner Geoff. We are planning to have open space where our property lines meet so it will be seamless and you can walk from Source to the Stillhouse. We have a great relationship with him and will be producing craft sodas for Geoff that he can make cocktails with. If you are a beer drinker you can come here, grab a beer in the brewery and if you want a cocktail, walk right over to the Colts Neck Stillhouse."
TAPinto contacted the owner of Colts Neck Stillhouse Geoff Karch, and here's what he had to say, "Having Source Brewing as a neighbor will offer many ways for us to collaborate. For instance they could finish one of their beers in my Bourbon barrels, or if they have a beer that didn't turn out as anticipated I could take that beer and distill it into a unique Whiskey. We could also co-host events... the list of ways we can work together is endless. I'm looking forward to the opening of Source Brewing."
After we had our interview in the cafe at Delicious Orchards, the 5 of us took a pleasant 3 minute walk from Delicious Orchards up the hill to the historic barn, where TAPinto was given a tour of the outside of the barn and property, and then moved inside and toured the barn full of antiques, including everything from a large rusty potato separator, to tractors and boxes full of year and years of memories, old mixed with the new, political signs of days gone by. Rooms full of boxed Christmas decorations, children's bikes, toys... and an American Flag hanging proud. The Source Brewing Founders have such vision and passion for their products and location that the excitement is contagious. TAPinto is really looking forward to their anticipated fall 2018 launch! Now you've heard the plan and have seen the before pictures, stay tuned for the after pics in their launch story! Stay in the know about Holmdel and Colts Neck. Sign up for your free daily news at http://TAPinto.net/enews and choose daily news for Holmdel & Colts Neck, where great things are always happening!
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