The singular thing that I absolutely love about talking to brewers is their overarching sense of enthusiasm. Having gotten a chance to bend the ears of many brewers, it doesn’t surprise me how incredibly proud they are of their craft. My conversation with Matt McDevitt from Tuckahoe Brewing Company did not deviate from this concept.
Matt, who has been home brewing for well over ten years, expanded his hobby by partnering up with Tim Hanna in 2006. The two frequently thought about starting a brewery when they retired, but quickly determined that old age would easily impede their plans. Afterall, post retirement it’s much easier to drink beer than to brew it.
Driven by the thought of sharing their craft with the New Jersey masses, Matt and Tim teamed up with two other partners and began exploring the idea of starting a brewery. In January of 2011, Tuckahoe Brewing Company was born in the town of Ocean View located in southern New Jersey. (Read more about the rich history of the town on Tuckahoe’s website)
Although still in the licensee phase, Matt and his partners are destined for success and expect to be up and brewing by the end of 2011. Confirmed by Matt, the brewery is expecting the delivery of their recently ordered equipment in September.
We recently ordered a three barrel brewing system from Psycho Brew LLC out of Michigan. They were able to find a manufacturer of eight barrel capacity fermenters for us. We ordered two which will enable us to make double batches, turning our three barrel system into six barrel system.
To support this quantity of beer and size of fermenter, Tuckahoe also ordered a two HP chiller from Pro Refrigeration out of Washington.
Matt noted that Tuckahoe’s flagship is slated to be an American Pale Ale with a summer Belgian Witte and fall / winter Porter in 2012. (Read more about their beers here.)
Besides initial production, Tuckahoe’s immediate plans are to expand their brand by building a new website (an update is scheduled for September, click here to see their current website) and, after licensing, increasing knowledge by providing samples to local bars and restaurants. They even anticipate on attending local beer festivals to spread the word.
When asked about the differentiator between Tuckahoe and other local breweries, Matt’s response was driven by the appreciation of Tuckahoe’s local New Jersey community. Already in discussion with several local area farmers, the group’s plans are to utilize NJ grown grain and hops to create a product brewed from completely local ingredients. The concept of giving back to the local community is something that resonated throughout my entire conversation with Matt.
Having full time careers as teachers and architects, I asked Matt if the group found it difficult to devote their time to starting the business. “Anything that is worth it in the end is going to be challenging time wise”, Matt responded then added “Financially it certainly is easier, and the summers help too.” Their commitment is evident as Matt noted any free time is instantly devoted to brewery business matters.
Tuckahoe Brewing Company is a testament that even small businesses in New Jersey can quickly get off the ground given dedication, a sense of community, a strong product and successful partnerships. Be on the lookout for Tuckahoe in the early part of 2012!