Farewell New Jersey!

So today marks my last day as the Head Brewer of our Maple Shade location.  After a healthy-sized vacation I’ll be taking up the reins at our Chestnut Hill location.  A lot of you know that I live in Philadelphia.  I’m very excited to be able to live and work in the same city and in particular, to be able to get to work via train or bicycle!  Leaving the Garden State will be a bittersweet experience though.  I grew up in Burlington County and I’ll miss once again being a part of it.

I’ll also be leaving behind a lot of great people in terms of regular customers and co-workers.  A lot of you have become personal friends and I truly believe I’ll be leaving behind one of the best, if not the the best staffs in our company!  I do have to say  that I’m very proud to have been a part of what has gone on in this part of our state over the past 5 years.  This area was not completely bereft of craft beer culture when I started working here.  Pioneers like The Mexican Food Factory, Uno’s, the Blue Monkey and the Pourhouse were all waving the craft beer flag.  Both in terms of what they carried and how their staff was trained they were doing things right.  However we’ve got a whole different landscape here in 2014 than we did back in 2009.  Friends of mine from Yards and Flying Fish both told me that they started selling more beer locally once we’d opened up!  Even local dive bars in the area have learned that you can’t get away without having at least a few craft beers on your list.

“The club” has been a big part of that growth.  A few guests of ours who were home brewers and I founded the Barley Legal homebrew club a few months after we opened here.  Since then they’ve become the largest homebrew club in south Jersey and their scope has gone far beyond drinking homebrew.  These guys raise money for charity, participate in local beer festivals and even host their own fundraisers.  And of course they’ve done their part to raise the awareness of craft beer in the area.  A few of them have even gone on to become professional brewers and even brewery owners!

For the first five years we were open, the customers of Iron Hill Maple Shade drank more beer than any location in our company!  And we still go through a higher percentage of beer in terms of adult beverages than anyone in Iron Hill.  Thank you for that!  You’ve made me look good. Hopefully you’ve had a great time doing it.  I’ll miss you all and I hope some of you will cross the bridge to pay me a visit in Chestnut Hill.  See you there!

Chris

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