E-Malt.com News article: USA, NJ: Former contract brewer Two Ton Brewing opens own brick-and-mortar facility
For the past four years, Two Ton Brewing’s wide array of beers could be found only at festivals, restaurants and bars and liquor stores throughout the state. However, the former contract brewer now has a place to call its own — a new brick-and-mortar brewery in Kenilworth that opened in October, MyCentralJersey.com reported on January 8.
Featuring beers of every variety, including its Extra-Special Chocolate Vanilla Porter, Hammer and Ale IPA, Stay Woke Milk Stout and soon-to-come sour beers, the brewery features an industrial chic design with reclaimed elements made by the owners and local artist Brian Metros, as well as murals and installations by Pawel Wnek.
With 2,620 square feet and the ability to accommodate about 100 people, the brewery — open from Thursday through Sunday — includes an outdoor biergarten, indoor taproom and even a basement "speakeasy" themed as a library, to pay homage to the team’s background in education, which includes personal touches such as their own published books and relics from their childhood home.
Two Ton Brewing CEO Matthew Barbiere was working as a special education teacher as his brother, Jim Barbiere, who is now president and head brewer of the company, was brewing beer for fun as he worked as a school administrator in Barnegat, a career he still maintains today. As his skills improved throughout 20 years of homebrewing, Matthew Barbiere took notice.
“I realized his talent and encouraged him to take the next step,” Matthew Barbiere said. “I enjoyed teaching, but I figured life is short and sometimes you have to just go for it. It’s always been a passion of mine to own my own business.”
Matthew Barbiere encouraged his father, Dr. Mario Barbiere, who has worked in every segment of education including as a teacher, principal, superintendent and college professor, to support the brothers. Mario Barbiere took it on as CFO of the company as it morphed into a family business, bringing in other branches of their family tree in business expertise, design ideas, field research and construction.
Soon, Two Ton Brewing was born, as it recorded its first sale in September 2015. Its name was a natural fit to Jim Barbiere’s process.
“I was watching my brother home brew, and I noticed that he put in tons of grains and hops, as his recipes tend to be higher gravity,” Matthew Barbiere said. “He’s like a mad scientist with flavors. We like to put our own twists on our recipes.”
Two Ton Brewing began with its Hammer and Ale Imperial IPA, which Jim Barbiere brewed more than 25 times before he felt it was ready for the masses. Brewed with "a ton of hops and a ton of grain," Hammer and Ale was a nod to the Two Ton name itself.
After spending four years paying other breweries to brew their beers and keg them in their facilities as they built their brand, Two Ton Brewing spent some time looking at possible brewery venues, including Clark, Cranford and Roselle, as the team felt strongly about sticking to Union County given their Westfield roots.
Now that they’re open for business, they have been attracting about 200 people per weekend, mostly through word of mouth, and are developing a regular crowd.
In its brewery, Two Ton Brewing offers about a dozen beers at any given time, all of which are different styles to accommodate all beer lovers.
“We dabble all around,” Matthew Barbiere said. “We like to say that as long as we can brew more than we drink, we’re good.”
10 January, 2019