Miles to Go

by Dave on August 27, 2009

from Coastal Sussex Weekly magazine, August 27, 2009

You’ve probably heard the story by now. Two boys grow up in the same town, attend the same high school and the same college at different times, but don’t meet until they both move back home with their families years later.

Then, Chad Campbell and Brett McCrea become friends and eventually decide to open a brewery. The result is 16 Mile, located in Georgetown (because Georgetown in 16 miles from anywhere in Sussex County). And it was beer that solidified the relationship between the two.

“We like beer,” says McCrea. “(Campbell) was on the front end of the craft brewing industry when it started booming. I spent an inordinate amount of time in Latin America, in Europe, in the South Pacific really seeing and tasting beers from all over the world. But putting it into a real-life situation didn’t really make itself clear until he suggested it.”

That ‘real-life’ situation sits on an 8-acre piece of land east of the circle on Georgetown’s South Bedford Street. It is an impressive production that involves specially-engineered equipment to brew their initial offering, Amber Sun Ale.

“Everything here is ASME certified,” says McCrea. “The people that built it are members of the American society of Mechanical Engineers. Everything is custom made for this building.”

Included in that lineup is a custom bottler that uses compressed air to move the extremely light aluminum bottles, unique to 16 Mile.

“We’re the first company in North America to have a 22-oz aluminum bottle,” adds McCrea. “Bottles have been incredibly popular.”

But as anyone in the beer industry will tell you, it’s what’s in the bottle that counts.

“We’re very into our grains and how the grains taste in the beer,” says McCrea. “We’ll use enough hops to balance it out, but we’re into our grains.”

“There are three beers we’ll produce,” adds Campbell.  “We’re going to come out with (our second) an American-style Ale, called Old Court Ale. Within weeks of that, we’ll be coming out with our third, a Golden Ale. So that’ll be three by year-end.”

With those new offerings and with a functioning brewery that survived the initial production burst, 16 Mile Brewery is prepared for whatever comes their way in the future, even if it’s more than sixteen miles from home.

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