After less than a year of operation, Haddonfield’s first microbrewery has its sights set on bigger digs within the same block of Kings Highway East: the former Harrison’s Gift Shop.
By Matt Skoufalos | December 20, 2018
When Kings Road Brewing opened its doors in historic Haddonfield last year, anticipation was high—so much so that staffers began working in the space with the lights off and the door locked to keep from refusing early birds.
Despite that enthusiasm, neither the community nor its owners could have predicted the response that followed.
The struggle quickly went from getting the business off the ground to keeping up with demand.
“The town has embraced us tremendously, and anyone that’s tried to get in here on a Friday and Saturday night knows that,” said Kings Road co-owner Bob Hochgertel.
“Early on, we’ve recognized that we’re space-challenged,” he said. “What we’ve realized since then is that we’re brewing capacity-challenged.”
The 880-square-foot facility and its 3.5-barrel brewing system only produces enough to serve onsite patrons and fill a few to-go orders. It’s not enough to take Kings Road brews beyond the limits of the space and into a distribution model.
But if all goes according to plan, the entire operation will be moving into an expanded storefront just two addresses up the block: into the former site of Harrison’s gift shop, which shut its doors in 2017.
Hochgertel said the five-family partnership—which also includes borough residents Vicki Jensh Cummins, Jeff Farrell, Pete Gagliardi, and Chris Thomas—has considered four or five different leasing options for its expansion in the past half-year.
The former Harrison’s shop made the most sense for them, he said, not least of all because the group cares about preserving the local history of its decades-old storefront.
“We’re not going to change the front of Harrison’s because we recognize that Harrison’s was important,” Hochgertel said. “We have embraced the town’s history from the beginning, from the naming of our beers to some of the things in the décor.
“It’s an important building, and I think we’re going to do the building proud,” he said.
In its new digs, Kings Road will feature an interior décor similar to that of its current location. Owners are planning “a few design surprises” that will help create a space that appeals “even to the non-beer-drinker,” Hochgertel said.
“We’re going to do some things that make the space very special,” he said.
Hochgertel said Kings Road receives requests daily for group parties that its 49-seat tasting room simply cannot accommodate. The new space will increase that capacity to 110 while adding in a movable wall to create private areas within it. The proposed location at 131 Kings Highway East also features a small loading dock for deliveries via Mechanic Street.
Most importantly, the larger footprint will allow Kings Road to increase its brewing capacity enough to keg, can, and distribute its product beyond the tasting room.
Hochgertel estimates the new space will enable a three-to-five-fold increase in production.
“We have barely been keeping up with demand just in the tasting room,” he said.
“We already have almost three dozen regional bars and restaurants that have made requests [for our beer].
“It’s been small, slow, and steady, but it’s a constant positive upward [trend].”
The move is conditional upon a couple of regulatory approvals, the first being that of the Haddonfield Planning Board, which till take up the Kings Road application at its January 2 meeting.
The second lies with the state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, to which Kings Road will apply for a transfer of its license from the current location. Assuming both pass muster, the brewers believe they could open the doors on the new site by the summer of 2019.
“The other hope is we could do it all seamlessly because we’re buying larger equipment,” Hochgertel said.
Stick with NJ Pen for updates.
- Bolstered by Expansion, Jersey Craft Brewing Primes for Growth, Seeks to Shed Regs (February 7, 2017)
- King’s Road Comes to Kings Highway: Haddonfield Nanobrewery Clears Zoning Board (February 22, 2017)
- Haddonfield Homecoming for King’s Road Brewer Matt Revier (August 13, 2017)
- King’s Road Brewing Sets Sights on Dec. 22 Grand Opening (December 13, 2017)
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