Friday, February 8, 2008

New Jersey Breweries one step closer...

Ah, a lovely thing to behold...

We've got the cover art to look at, and we like it.

Even better, Mark and I met yesterday to go over the proofs of the manuscript, and it went very smoothly. We went through the whole thing in under half an hour. I take it up to Stackpole Tuesday, and away it goes.

We're still looking at August for publication.

9 comments:

THOMAS 'Tom' CIZAUSKAS said...

Looking forward to knowing 'which exit'. Congratulations.

Harry Spade said...

August eh? Just in time for my birthday! Looks like it'll be a toss-up between the book and a Phillies game.

Anonymous said...

I'm still impressed and amazed that you managed to fill an entire book about the sad sad beer scene in this sad sad beer state.

Lew Bryson said...

Thanks, Tom, Harry!

Anon, things aren't actually as bad as we'd thought. The number of breweries in the state is small, but those that are left from the high point are, as in most other states, pretty darned good; they've been through the fire.
Although the number of top-notch beer bars in NJ is small, in some areas, a variety of beer can be found in a suprising number of places. The Office, a regional chain of multi-taps, is a good sign, even though I'm usually not a big fan of chains. There are quite a few good retail selections of beer, too.

I would say there are two signs that NJ does have a long way yet to go. First, there are still big parts of the state where you just can't find diddley, South Jersey rather famously so. Once you get out of Trenton and the ring of thick suburbs east of Philly, there's just not much there; Vineland never supported Blue Collar that well, for instance. Second, there haven't been any new breweries in NJ in years, unlike all the other states around New Jersey.

Why? We blame the liquor license situation. Liquor licenses are wicked expensive in NJ, about $500,000 in towns of any size, and one went for $2 mill in the Cherry Hill area recently. It makes it hard to open a place when you've got that kind of monthly nut just to cover the paper. Starting a small production brewery would be daunting for the same reason: bar owners don't like to take a lot of chances on new products when they're squeezed.

I still remain convinced that if more craft beer was available in NJ, more craft beer would be sold in NJ. It's up to the bar owners to take the risk. I don't know of too many places where that risk hasn't panned out...but it's still hard to be too tough on them with that kind of situation.

One thing we did include in the book was a plea to readers to get out there and ask for craft beer; the best possible way to spread the word and get bar owners to carry it.

bill mc said...

Congrats!

Are you planning any signings for the new book?

Lew Bryson said...

Bill,

Thanks! Nothing planned yet, but we plan to hit this one hard.

Eric Trimmer said...

Anything good around Exit 7A?

I'm heading to Howell two weekends from now to visit the inlaws, and I'm wondering if I should just bring my own...

Lew Bryson said...

Y'know, Eric, there's not much right there...and there are some places to go in Trenton, but I'm going to go out on a limb and tell you the two places I'd go that are easy to get to from 7A (because you just hop on I-195 towards Trenton): the Blue Danube (538 Adeline St. (Google map it) is a really neat Eastern European place we like going to with good pilsners and a deep menu), and the Mill Hill Saloon (300 S. Broad St., a great little corner bar that also has some excellent beers on tap, nicely executed 'Mama's Kitchen' kind of food, friendly folks, and surprisingly easy on-off access (and cheap street parking)). Both are less than 15 minutes from the exit, and you can quickly be back on I-195. Do you right, man.

Eric Trimmer said...

Thanks, Lew.