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Wednesday, 02 April 2014 16:33

Spellbound Brewing looks to overcome winter delays with busy April

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It’s April, and the new month finds startup Spellbound Brewing with a green light from federal regulators, plus a super-busy calendar for a brewery buildout delayed by a rough, snowy winter.

SB-Temp-SignageSome key floor work has been done since Spellbound took the keys to its space at 10 Lippincott Lane in Mount Holly last fall. The mill and tasting rooms have been framed out, walls erected and doors hung. The arrival of the brewing equipment is hot on the radar, and the coldbox, its panels now stacked in the far end of the building, is in need of assembling.

“We were hoping to have the general contractor out of here end of January. Here we are end of March, and we’re still not done. The weather really hurt us,” Spellbound co-owner John Companick says. “Just trying to get the place built out, trying to get people in here and getting all the work done, the snow probably delayed us at least a month, month and a half.”

On a cold, damp last Saturday of March, John and business partner Scott Reading offered Beer-Stained Letter a walk-through of their building, starting and ending at what will be the brewery’s 10-tap tasting room. Now, with winter done, the two say, the forecast is shaping up for a mid-summer opening.

SB-Mill-Room“If we can be brewing beer by the end of June, we’re in good shape,” Scott says. “If we open to the public come end of July that would be perfect.”

When it does open, Spellbound will become Mount Holly’s second brewery and Burlington County’s third. Across town, Village Idiot Brewing on High Street was licensed around the end of last year. The Iron Hill brewpub chain opened its Maple Shade location five years ago.

Last week, John, Scott and Mike Oliver, the third Spellbound partner, were notified by the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) that their brewer’s notice had been approved. The notice is a tax document that officially recognizes the business as a brewery.

Having the TTB blessing makes it possible for the trio to fast-track some things, namely, they can now submit their beer can labeling – ones now being designed for a porter and IPA – for the obligatory federal approval.

Meanwhile, five fermenters and a brite tank from Escondido, California, equipment supplier Premier Stainless Systems are due to arrive in mid-April. The brewhouse, also from Premier, is due a week after that.

“Same thing with our glycol chiller, same thing with our boiler,” John says. “And while we’re doing all that, we’re also doing all the floors in the tasting room, doing the floors in the brewhouse … also building out the bar. So, we’ve got a lot of things going on at once.”

The 1,000-square-foot tasting room, which will feature a 24-foot bar, looks out into a brewery space six times its size. There, 70 feet of trench drain have been installed and now await the brewing equipment. (Spellbound is getting a 20-barrel brewhouse, three 40-barrel fermenters, a pair of 10-barrel fermenters for one-off and tasting room brews, and a 40-barrel brite tank.)

“We’ll have firkins in tasting room, one or two all of the time in the tasting room, where we can play around and add different types of ingredients,” John says. “That’s where we get our coffee, coconut, vanilla imperial stouts, stuff like that.”

Also on order is a canning line from Cask, of Alberta, Canada. Cask is probably best known as the company that equipped Oskar Blues with its canning line 10 years ago, making the Colorado brewer the frontrunner for craft beer in cans.

Spellbound embraced canning in its business model long ago. Cans have an edge over bottles when it comes to enviro-friendly things like recycling. Their ever-increasing popularity among craft beer enthusiasts is driving sales, too. Take a beer that’s in both bottles and cans, John says, and the canned version will outsell its bottled counterpart over and over.

“We don’t know if that’s what the market will continue to bear, because more people are moving to cans,” he says. “But we know that from our standpoint, we’re going to do the porter and the IPA in cans out of the gate.”

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Read 1715 times Last modified on Wednesday, 02 April 2014 17:13

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