By Jay Cook |
COLTS NECK – Philip Petracca has been busy over the past two years building a company from the ground up. What seemed like the easiest business pitch of his life came last week before the local zoning board at Colts Neck Town Hall.
But that couldn’t have been further from the truth.
“I was more nervous for that then I was for ‘Shark Tank,’” said Petracca, a 48-year-old Howell resident.
Petracca was on television screens nationwide last September when the company he co-owns, Fizzics, made a successful pitch to the six multimillionaire investors on the hit ABC show. He and his partner David McDonald walked out of the tank after striking a $2 million equity deal for 16.67 percent of the company with Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner. It was the second-highest straight equity deal in Shark Tank history.
Fizzics “revolutionized at-home beer dispensing,” Petracca said last week. The technology uses sound waves to enhance the aroma and flavor of beer to duplicate the experience of drinking straight from the source, instead from the bottle or can. It’s found in every Best Buy, Target, and Bed Bath & Beyond.
And Petracca believes the beer drinking experience is centered around one thing – its source. So, along with a master brewer and Fizzics team member Greg Taylor, the two craft beer connoisseurs are moving away from the corporate world and stepping into Colts Neck to create Source Brewing, a unique farmstead microbrewery.
“We’re producing hand-crafted beverages,” Petracca said. “But for us, craft beer is all about the authenticity and utilizing local ingredients. And with Colts Neck, the farming history here is just tremendous.”
Petracca and Taylor cleared their first hurdle last week after being granted a use approval for their microbrewery. Instead of building a brand-new structure, the duo will refurbish a 4,132- square-foot, 125-year-old barn on 1.7 acres of farmland into a craft beer hub, capitalizing on Colts Neck’s rich alcohol brewing history.
Taylor, 26, of Asbury Park, will be behind the scenes crafting his style of malt beverages. He said Source Brewing will focus on using Colts Neck ingredients to fashion beers – they already have plans in place to use hops, wheat, barley, rye, honey and cranberries all grown in and around town. Taylor plans to brew “rustic farmhouse ales of the Saison and Belgian-French variety,” along with house IPAs and whatever else comes to his mind.
“Look across the industry today,” Taylor said. “People are more likely to buy something if they know where it came from. That ties in with informing the consumer and educating them about beer.”
It only makes sense for Petracca and Taylor to begin this venture together. When Fizzics was growing in 2016, Petracca visited Weyerbacher Brewery in Easton, Pennsylvania for a brewer spotlight with Taylor who worked there at the time. They struck up a friendship, and soon Taylor came onboard with Fizzics. After months of touring the country and meeting brewers, they decided they could brew beer, too.
They envision Source Brewing as “a unique experience where people could come with their families and enjoy,” Petracca said. “This is where our passion is.”
Along with behind-the-scenes tours taking visitors through the brewing process, the 62-seat microbrewery will offer an outdoor beer garden covered by a pergola made from reclaimed barn lumber. A pair of former grain silos attached to the barn will be converted into men’s and women’s bathrooms. A second-floor deck designed to look westward will take advantage of spectacular sunsets over the Trump National Golf Course.
They also plan to bring in life-size versions of Jenga and Connect Four, along with space for corn hole games. And to double-down on that family experience, since Petracca is a father of three, he also wants to brew craft sodas on site.
The property also offers plenty of opportunity for partnerships with local businesses. Immediately in front of the century-old barn are the bones of the Colts Neck Stillhouse, a micro-distillery being built by Colts Neck resident Geoff Karch. At the zoning board meeting, Karch told the board Source Brewing is a perfect fit for the town.
“I can’t think of a more perfect lot mate or complimentary activity than these guys,” he said. “There’s so many things we can do together to create new and creative products. It just makes the most sense.”
The local nucleus of craft spirits will be situated next door to Delicious Orchards, one of Monmouth County’s busiest seasonal stores.
“These three businesses really complement each other and usher in the type of vision we have,” Petracca told board members.
Source Brewing, which plans to open in the fall of 2018, still needs to get site plan approval from the zoning board, but they have hashed out most of the business’ technical end. The 10-barrel brewhouse will have the capacity to brew 3,000 barrels per year, well under their legal limit of 50,000. Visitors can buy 32- or 64-ounce growlers for take-home consumption, and the brewers can sell 15.5 gallons – or one keg’s worth – of beer at a time to restaurants and bars. Per federal and state licensing, they would not be permitted to sell or cook food on site.
And all of that is just fine for these business partners.
“We’re not looking to keep buying bigger and bigger tanks and make a factory and do what everyone else is doing,” Taylor said. “We’re intentionally going the other way with it.”
To follow along with Source Brewing’s progress, visit SourceBrewing.com or follow them on Instagram at @sourcebrewing.
This article was first published in the Nov. 23-30, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.
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