The musician-backed Asbury Park Brewery, owned by local attorney and musician Jeff Plate, has taken a unique approach toward entering New Jersey's booming craft beer scene.
(Rob Spahr | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)
But the musicians behind the newly opened Asbury Park Brewery opted to do things in reverse in their effort to bring a taste of Asbury Park to the masses.
Local musician and attorney Jeff Plate – who has played in the bands Low Flying Jets, Sikamor Rooney and with The Parlor Mob and Nicole Atkins – registered the web address and bought intellectual property rights for "Asbury Park Brewery" in 2005, long before New Jersey loosened its laws for breweries in 2012 and before he had even brewed his first beer.
"Like many other people, I thought it was a good idea for Asbury Park to have a brewery. I definitely wasn't the first or the last," he said. "But I figured that if I'm going to open a brewery, I might as well learn how to brew beer."
During the next several years, Plate honed his craft beer palate and brewing talents while simultaneously playing in bands, going to law school and then practicing as a commercial transactions attorney.
When the state's craft beer scene started to explode, he dusted off his business plan and began shopping the idea around to other New Jersey musicians who were passionate about beer and had an inclination of Asbury Park's revival.
"These people knew what was going on in Asbury Park, could see the redevelopment and could see the potential," he said. "And by early 2015, the confluence of craft beer and the city of Asbury Park started to make a lot of sense to them, so I was able to get some private placement investment some pretty cool music industry people."
These investors included Bob McLynn – co-founder of the New York City-basedCrush Management, which includes musical acts including Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco, Sia and Train – and Chris Cornell, founder of Manhead Merch, which handles the promotional merchandise for dozens of major musical acts.