By JOHN T. WARD
• A startup craft beer maker hopes to set up a production brewery and tasting room on Oakland Street next door to the Red Bank train station.
If approved by borough zoning officials, the brewery, called Ross Brewing Co., would take over 101 Oakland Street, a 6,800-square-foot building that’s home to the dispatcher offices of Yellow Cab and a courier service.
To move ahead, the plan requires use and parking variances, according to documents on file at borough hall.
On Thursday, Retail Churn spoke to a Ross principal, who asked that we not identify him by name because he has employment considerations to resolve before he goes public.
He emphasized that the business “is definitely a production brewery, not a brew pub” in the style of nearby Birravino or the even-nearer Triumph Brewing Company restaurant now under construction at the West Side Lofts project.
Ross’ output would be sold through pubs, restaurants, supermarkets and other distribution channels, he said. No retail sales would take place, though Ross will have “a customer-facing tap room on premises where customers can experience freshly brewed beer,” he said. “We’ll try out lots of unique brews and one-offers,” and if they test well on site, may go into production.
The principals in Ross, he said, have extensive backgrounds in craft beer, and the partners are hoping that craft beer aficionados will come out in support of the plan when it comes up before the zoning board. No hearing date has yet been scheduled.
The brewery would be next door to a building that housed the now-closed Racioppi’s restaurant and, in the late 1990s, the Red Bank Brewing Co.
The building is owned by Riverdale Management Associates. Gary Damanti, manager at Yellow Cab, said he was unaware of the proposal, though the building has been on the market for a while. He said the landlord has promised the taxi business a six-month heads-up on an eviction.
“As long as another cab company doesn’t come in here, we’ll make do,” Damanti told Churn.
Just around the corner on Bridge, Roy and Mary Jennings, owners of the Chowda House, already have borough approval to transform the former hand car wash next to their restaurant into a seasonal ice cream stand, borough records show.
Roy Jennings told Churn he won’t get to the project this year, but hopes to open the business next spring. It will offer homemade ice cream for takeout only, he said.