Twin Lights Brewing Has Heart Set On Highlands

June 19, 2018
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Twin Lights Brewing founders Will Grundmann (left) and Mike Betros are seeking a Highlands storefront location for a brewery and tap house, which they hope will be fully operational by next summer. Courtesy Will Grundmann

By Chris Rotolo |

HIGHLANDS – An up-and-coming craft brewing team is in search of a home in Highlands.

Twin Lights Brewing, which takes its name from the storied lighthouse over-looking the borough and Sandy Hook, is in the early stage of locating a brick-and-mortar location for its craft beer imprint.

Co-founder and CEO Will Grundmann, 27, hopes to have that site secured and fully operational by next summer.

“I think the most realistic and reasonable timeline is summer 2019,” Grundmann said. “I don’t think that’s too ambitious. I think we’ll be brewing beer at our location by then.”

A former financial advisor with International Planning Alliance in Shrewsbury, Grundmann said the most important hurdle to clear is acquiring the capital to make this vision a reality. But he is confident his background and relationships in the finance industry will help move the project forward.

In the meantime Grundmann, along with Mike Betros, president and director of brewing operations, will continue to grow the Twin Lights Brewing brand by focusing on what sets their operation apart from the rest.

“The generic answer is that we make great beer. But so does everyone else,” Grundmann said. “What makes us different is the sense of inclusivity around us. We want to let people in on our process and let them grow with us.”

Grundmann and Betros grew up together in the Leonardo section of Middletown, developing a bond at Bayshore Middle School that strengthened over the years.

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The pair officially went into business in 2016 when they trademarked Twin Lights Brewing and created a limited liability company, putting their plan for a brewing location and tap room in motion.

Since launching the brand, Grumann and Betros have placed a premium on community engagement and, though they are not yet licensed to serve and distribute their product, they have pledged to pull back the curtain on their step-by-step process, offering supporters total transparency through the Twin Lights Brewing Blog.

“Part of building an audience is communication and sharing your story and message with people,” Grundmann said. “The craft beer craze is as much about the beer as it is connecting with people and making them feel as if they’re part of something. That’s why we fell in love with it. And it’s how we want to operate.”

Since starting the blog two months ago, the partners have published six posts, which is essentially outlining a detailed approach to founding one’s own brewery, including “Building a Business Plan,” “Designing a Brew System” and, of course, “Finding the Right Location.”

Ideally, Grundmann and Betros have their hearts set on finding a site along Bay Avenue with the real Twin Lights perched above. But locating a building with the right height clearance to accommodate their equipment and at the right price point is easier said than done.

“The search is a process and we’ve already seen several locations but nothing that we thought was a perfect fit,” Grundmann said. “If we have to expand our search to Middletown and Atlantic Highlands we can but the idea is to be as close to the Twin Lights as possible. This won’t work as well if we’re not. In our hearts and minds, Highlands is the place.”

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This article was first published in the June 14-June 21, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.

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