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USA, NJ: New Jersey's first educational microbrewery is coming to Burlington County
Brewery news

A brewer, some college administrators and board members of a historic nonprofit walked into the Community House of Moorestown. They formed a partnership to develop the first microbrewery of its kind in New Jersey, reported on February 22.

An "education-based" microbrewery is coming to the Community House a historic venue on Main Street that operates as an independent community center. King's Road Brewing Company will manage Community House Brewery and partner with Rowan College at Burlington County (RCBC) to provide students with hands-on industry experience.

The future brewery still needs to reach fundraising goals for the endeavor and then receive approval from the Town Council and the state's Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. But organizers project it will open in late 2025 or early 2026.

RCBC intends to establish an associate degree in craft brewing to begin in fall 2025. The community college, based in Mount Laurel, received a grant from the state's Higher Education Equipment Leasing Fund to secure the necessary equipment to establish the program.

The microbrewery will go in a repurposed Community House space that once housed an indoor pool a longtime summer gathering spot for Moorestown before it was discontinued in 2017. Moorestown Mayor Nicole Gillespie said she was "thrilled" that the pool area will get new life.

"I am confident this can be another amazing asset for Main Street," Gillespie said, "where people can gather, connect and enjoy not only exceptional beer but also a sense of community."

Placing a microbrewery inside a nonprofit may seem unconventional. However, the Community House says it will merely serve as the venue. King's Road Brewing Company will own and operate the brewery and tasting room.

In 2017, King's Road opened its first brewery in Haddonfield. The company opened another location in Medford four years later.

"Through our commitment to quality craft beer and community involvement, weve become a catalyst for positive economic and social change in Haddonfield," said Bob Hochgertel, co-owner of King's Road. "We believe the same can be true in Moorestown, and Main Street in Moorestown is a physical continuation of the historic Kings Road from where the brewery takes its name."

Established in 1926, the Community House has been a hub for community activity and both public and private events. The nonprofit intends to minimize disruptions of other events as the microbrewery develops.

Moorestown had long been a dry town, restricting liquor sales for more than 70 years after Prohibition ended in the 1930s. But in 2011, Moorestown voters approved the sale of liquor licenses in certain areas of the township.

Ten years later, the Town Council approved an ordinance to permit breweries, distilleries and winery salerooms in the township.

Several New Jersey micobreweries have closed in recent months, with many citing state restrictions that went into effect in 2022. As a result, breweries could only hold up to 25 on-site events and 52 private parties per year. And patrons were required to tour a brewery before consuming its beer.

Gov. Phil Murphy, who faced significant criticism for allowing the restrictions to stay in place for more than a year, signed a law in January that rescinded those policies.

Recent closures include Flying Fish Brewing Co. South Jersey's first microbrewery, which declared bankruptcy last December and closed its Somerdale facility earlier this month. A Baltimore-based brewery bought will maintain the brand but was unable to maintain the Somerdale space.

23 February, 2024
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