Flying Fish is a Craft Brewing Success Story
June 18, 2003 - Flying Fish has grown to become what many consider a success story in New Jersey's craft brewing industry. Flying Fish is now New Jersey's second largest brewery, producing 7500 barrels annually. It would need considerable growth to catch up to Number One New Jersey brewer Anheuser-Busch, but Flying Fish founder Gene Muller is running his brewery to plan, starting small and building gradually, adding brewing capacity and distribution outlets over time. Muller sometimes goes to auctions of breweries that didn't last to look for equipment for any expansion needs, keeping costs down. His brewery has turned down requests to ship its product to the West Coast, not unlike several other East Coast craft brewers, preferring instead to serve its home market, where it can make sure customers get fresh beer and keep transportation costs down. The brewery is located in an industrial park in Cherry Hill, with enough space to increase production to 11,000 to 12,000 barrels per year in the current home, but not enough room to make the process more automated. Muller is looking for a bigger space, around 30,000-square-foot, in Philadelphia or southern New Jersey. The goal is to move into a new building with better visibility, in contrast to the tucked-away industrial park where the brewery currently is, so Muller and his crew can offer consumers brewery visits and weekend tours. Muller isn't interested in turning Flying Fish into the next Sierra Nevada, the 22 year old Chico, Calif.-based brewery that is now producing 500,000 barrels a year, making it one of the 10 largest beer makers in the country. Flying Fish's planned move is calculated growth. If it works out, the brewery could soon leave the ranks of microbrews, topping the 15,000 barrels per year production mark.