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Cape May Brewing Has No Secret Sauce

With careful planning and carefree beers, the New Jersey brewery took itself from a Shore town taproom to a three-state powerhouse.

Kate Bernot Sep 23, 2021 - 11 min read

Cape May Brewing Has No Secret Sauce  Primary Image

Photos: Courtesy Cape May Brewing

Cape May Brewing’s recent trajectory makes it look like the brewery has attached itself to a rocketship, increasing from 6,300 barrels of production five years ago to an estimated 50,000 barrels this year. That’s with sales in just three markets: New Jersey, the Philadelphia area, and Delaware. Yet CEO Ryan Krill doesn’t see the brewery’s growth as an explosion, but rather a slow climb. He quotes Amazon founder Jeff Bezos: “Overnight success takes about 10 years.”

The brewery has reached that decade mark, and it’s enjoying a growth rate its three cofounders didn’t anticipate when they opened a small, taproom-focused brewery in the Cape May airport. Not having brewing-industry experience, the three grew their company as they learned the ropes. Krill says it feels like the company’s been “chipping away” for a decade, not riding some kind of huge wave.

There’s no secret sauce that’s propelled Cape May—just steady, smart expansion, one step at a time. What does feel singular, though, is how contemplative and thoughtful the company’s leadership has been at each transition point. The goal, Krill says, was never growth for growth’s sake but to get to what he calls an “inflection point” where profits could be invested back into the company in a way that improves infrastructure, quality, and efficiency.

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