TINTON FALLS — Thirsty beer drinkers may soon be able to enjoy a stout, lager and other craft beer offerings in the borough.
Former mayor Michael Skudera, along with Tinton Falls resident Pete Artherholt and Red Bank resident Chris Hanigan, is set to open Jughandle Brewing Company this spring.
“Peter and Chris have made some of the best craft beer that I have ever tasted,” Skudera said. “We got similar reactions from others who have tried their beer as well, and this encouraged us to create Jughandle Brewing Company.
“We are passionate about creating quality craft beer for our customers to enjoy. We are excited to be Tinton Falls’ first craft brewery and are looking forward to opening next spring.”
The trio will operate a 3,000-square-foot brewery in the Tinton Falls Centre Plaza at 4057 Asbury Ave.
Skudera said the group considered several different locations before finally settling on Tinton Falls.
“We figured that was a good location with a lot of high traffic,” he said.
Artherholt, a former chemist with 15 years of brewing experience, said in a press release that the brewery will begin with a few offerings and will quickly expand.
“We will offer six craft beers on tap and plan on expanding to 14,” he said. “Having a strong science background will help drive consistency and quality control in the craft beers that we sell.”
Skudera said some of the initial offerings would include a stout, IPA, brown ale and hefeweizen.
“We are trying to have a wide variety to appeal to different tastes,” he said. “Not everybody has the same taste, so we are trying to have a very inclusive, very diverse menu of craft beer.”
Hanigan said the beer would include local produce.
“Our craft beers will be made using natural and high quality ingredients, and we are looking to use local products when in season,” he said.
The Tinton Falls brewery joins a growing list of breweries that have opened in recent years along the Jersey Shore. These include Beach Haus Brewery in Belmar, Belford Brewing in Middletown, Carton Brewing in Atlantic Highlands, Kane Brewing Company in Ocean Township and Little Dog Brewing in Neptune City.
“Around 2012 … they changed the law to allow breweries to be built in New Jersey,” Skudera said. “Before then it was very difficult.
“There’s been a lot of new breweries come on the scene, but still per capita we are number 48. We are getting better, but we are still nowhere near New York or Pennsylvania. There is still a lot of room for growth.”
Skudera said allowing more breweries will create more jobs, allow more commerce and generate more sales tax revenues, which benefit the local economy.
However, under state law, Skudera said Jughandle would not be permitted to serve food on site without obtaining a full liquor license at a significantly increased cost.
Under its current license, Jughandle will be able to sell beer on-site, as well as distribute beer to local bars and liquor stores.
Free tours of the brewery will also be offered.
“We’ll have free tours, people will be able to learn about the brewing process,” Skudera said.
Another component of the brewery might be a partnership with other local businesses.
“We’ve definitely talked about this, we do plan on partnering with a bunch of local organizations,” Skudera said. “We want to have products … in season, whether it is honey or whatever we are looking at.”
Skudera also said the Jughandle name is a play on the familiar traffic pattern often ridiculed in other states.
“It is kind of unique, the Jersey jughandle, but also the jug when you go to fill your growler up,” he said. “So it has a double meaning and it is a nice, unique name for a unique beer.”