Big things are brewing at 16 Mile in Georgetown, and it's not all beer.
Owners Brett McCrea and Chad Campbell are collaborating with Dewey Beach developer Jim Bauerle to open the 16 Mile Taphouse on Market Street in Newark. The newest venture goes along with the brewery's continued effort to expand its brand in the Mid-Atlantic Region, where 16 Mile beer is now being sold throughout New Jersey and in New York City.
“As we've brought on more capacity and continue to grow, we've been sourcing out the area that we want to expand our footprint into,” said Claus Hagelman, 16 Mile's director of sales and marketing. “We do not want to be an East Coast brand or a national brand; we want to be a brand that's basically sold within a five-hour sweep of where we are.”
New York City is about as far away as 16 Mile would like to distribute its product. They may look into expanding into the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area in the future, but are satisfied with their current footprint.
From 1 to 5 p.m., Saturday, July 13, 16 Mile Brewery will host its Fourth Birthday Celebration at the brewery located at 413 S. Bedford St. in Georgetown.
The event is open to all ages and is free to attend. Beer and food will be available for purchase.
For more information, call the brewery at 302-253-8816.
The latest project with Bauerle will give 16 Mile a local presence in northern Delaware. The taphouse will open for business Thursday, July 11, in the former Stone Balloon Winehouse. The Stone Balloon was well known in the '70s and '80s for attracting some of the biggest rock 'n' roll acts of the time, including Bruce Springsteen, Pat Benatar and Hall and Oates.
While the name will be changing, Hagelman said, the history will remain. A plaque honoring the Stone Balloon will be placed outside, and historic photographs dating back to the building's days as a hotel will be on display inside the restaurant.
“[Delaware history] has always been one of our passions, from our name to all the beers' names,” he said. “We like to wrap ourselves in the history of the state of Delaware. So opening in the famous Stone Balloon location and all the other things that have been at that location throughout history was something very cool to us.”
The name 16 Mile is derived from an old saying that claims Georgetown is 16 miles from anywhere in Sussex County. As it is a Georgetown-based brewery, Campbell and McCrea thought it would make a perfect name for their business.
The Newark taphouse will combine the popular winehouse and gourmet food of the Stone Balloon with 16 Mile's beer to create a destination where craft beer lovers, wine connoisseurs and foodies can all find something to their liking.
16 Mile will not exclusively offer its own beer at the taphouse either, as the owners also plan to offer their favorite local and global brews on tap and in bottles. Growlers will be available as well, Hagelman said.
“We want to have a world-class selection of good beers from around the world to offer in the space,” Hagelman said. “We're going to have a big refrigerated box with beers from England, Belgium, Germany and all the neighboring breweries in the area here too.”
The new taphouse will also be a new venue for 16 Mile to share the brews from its Collaboration Series and Heraldry Series. The latest in the Collaboration Series – Long Ben Extra Special Bitter – hit taps in June. All collaboration brews are tied to a local charity and have the 16 Mile crew working with writers or chefs to create the recipe.
For Long Ben E.S.B., the brewery worked with a collection of northern Delaware chefs. Proceeds benefit Meals on Wheels. The brew started with a recipe 16 Mile was given from Copper Dragon Brewery in Yorkshire, England. The chefs added pineapples and mangos into the mix as well as white rum from Delaware Distilling Company.
As the brewery does with all its creations, the beer was tied into Delaware history, specifically a pirate named John Avery, known as King of Pirates and Long Ben, who settled in Rehoboth Beach.
“The thought is he would have raided English ships coming up from the Caribbean with fruits, beer and rum,” Hagelman said.
In February, 16 Mile worked with the Rehoboth Inspired Chef Initiative to create Post-Apocalyptic Porter. RICI, also a charity group, donated a majority of the proceeds to Delaware Food Bank.
16 Mile's next collaboration brew is set to be released in September. The crew will work with Great Scott Broadcasting, owner of five local radio stations, which plans to host contests for the ingredients and name as well as opportunities to help brew the beer and be the first to taste the final product. The Georgetown SPCA shelter will be the beneficiary of the third brew in the series.
As 16 Mile approaches its fourth birthday, the brewery continues to collect accolades from colleagues in the beer industry, from positive reviews of its first beer in the Heraldry Series – Battle of Waterloo Brew – to awards for the core beers that helped put the brewery on the map.
At the 2013 New York International Beer Competition, all three beers 16 Mile entered – Inlet IPA, Harvest Ale (soon to be renamed Tiller Brown Ale) and Responders Ale – won awards. For Hagelman, the awards are a nice token for the time and hard work the brewery staff has dedicated to making 16 Mile stand out.
“It was rewarding for us to see our beers measured up in an international competition,” he said. “That was the catalyst to us asking ourselves which market we want to go to next.”