Just a few years ago, twenty-something Ryan Krill was earning six figures in finance and real estate in New York City while his old Villanova University roommate Chris Henke designed satellites for a living.
Now they are founders of a true rising star in the craft beer community: Cape May Brewing Company.
The Jersey Shore’s first production brewery, Cape May Brewing Company is quickly becoming one of the largest craft beer producers in the state.
As a board member for the Cape May County Chamber of Commerce, a TED(x) talk alum, a member of the Brewers Association Government Affairs Committee, and as president of the board of The Garden State Craft Brewers Guild, Cape May Brewery founder Ryan Krill is no slouch when it comes to the world of craft beer.
Sit back and relax as he answers a few important questions for us.
Image credit: Aleksey Photography
When did you first decide to get into the beer industry?
2010 when I was home-brewing a batch on 4th of July weekend with Hank and my dad in Avalon. I naively asked: What’s the worst that could happen?
Do you have any funny or interesting stories from your start-up phase?
Our first batch of beer went well. We plugged into a drain in the wall of the building. We never checked where that drain led, we just assumed it was tied in. We learned it went nowhere so we ended up dumping about 200 gallons of water into the wall. It held it well until we cut it open and spent the entire first night cleaning it up.
What’s a typical day on the job like for you?
It’s a whirlwind! I try my best to limit emails and focus on interacting with our staff between both buildings. It never really feels like work.
What are the biggest challenges facing craft brewers?
Megabrew trying to make people like us irrelevant by buying up craft brands and beer rating sites.
What do you think of the current state of craft beer in the world?
It is an exciting time in the indie craft beer world. As a consumer there has never been more competition, which means everyone is bringing their A game.
What about the craft beer industry in New Jersey – how would you like it to evolve?
New Jersey is still very young for indie craft beer. When we started there were 15 breweries, now there are nearly 90.
What are your favorite beers that you brew?
If you could only drink one style of beer for the rest of your days, what would it be?
Pilsner. Low ABV, refreshing, yummy.
What other breweries do you admire, both locally and from afar?
I really respect what our neighbors across the bay in Delaware have done at Dogfish Head.
Aside from brewing and drinking craft beer, what are your passions in life?
I enjoy flying small planes (I have my pilots license), fishing, and spending time with my wife, Kaysi.
I got the chance to visit Cape May Brewing Company for the first time this summer and went on the self-guided tour, followed by a fantastic tasting flight (with complimentary glass) at their spacious taproom.
I didn’t get too many photos this time around, but I know I’ll be going back there to refill my growlers (stored safely at our vacation home) and look forward to going back in the Fall and (hopefully) getting a backstage tour of the brewing and bottling process.