Bolero Snort beers have been on bar taps and store shelves since 2013, but fans have never had a true home until now.
The Bergen County brewery had a soft opening of its tasting room in Carlstadt on Jan. 4 and will host a four-day grand opening event Jan. 17-20.
The opening is a long time coming, according to co-owner Scott Wells.
“It was always part of the plan. It took seven years in part because every time we thought we were financially ready to take the leap, the size facility we needed to build out became larger,” Wells said.
Until now, Bolero Snort has been a contract brewer, meaning it brews its beers at other breweries. From High Point Brewing Co. in Butler to Alementary Brewing in Hackensack to Double Nickel in Pennsauken, Wells and co-owner and founder Bob Olson brewed their beer in every corner of New Jersey, which C+R Research reported last year had a craft beer boom bigger than that of any other state since 2015.
“As we kept growing as a contract brand, the goal post kept moving,” Wells said.
Over its seven years, Bolero Snort brewed at 12 different locations between New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
The new 16,400-square-foot production brewery, cold storage room and tasting room in Carlstadt has four 60 barrel tanks; two 90 barrel tanks; and two brite tanks, one 60 barrel and one 90 barrel, where the beer is conditioned with things like orange zest and vanilla and where it gets carbonated. There are also two 30 barrel tanks, “old and beat up,” but important according to Wells, because they’re the two tanks that Bolero Snort started brewing in seven years ago.
“It was only fitting that one of those got filled first,” Wells said.
Made in the USA
The new machinery is American made, with tanks and brewhouse from Wisconsin and a canning line from Colorado.
“You pay a premium in the brewing industry to get American made, but it’s one of those industries where American made is still higher quality,” he said. “There’s a significant difference – without getting too nerdy, the weld marks on the tanks, the higher gauge steel. We paid an exorbitant amount of money to do this because we really wanted to do everything the right way. If you spent $900,000 on an item, you make sure it lasts forever.”
The space is new, but they’re not just a small-time brewer dropping big money. Last year, Bolero Snort was in the top 15 production breweries in New Jersey by volume out of about 120. Now with its own space, it has the ability to develop fun variations on beer they’ve been brewing for years, like a pineapple mango version of the OVB (Orange Vanilla Bullsicle) Creamsicle IPA its been offering since 2016.
And, Wells and company won’t have to haul product any longer from other breweries to their old warehouse facility in Ridgefield Park, which didn’t have a loading dock.
Every two weeks, his team would unload 120 barrels of product brewed at Wyndridge Farm Brewing in Dallastown, Pa. from a truck into the warehouse by hand.
“On top of everything else, when we brewed at other places we were limited to their packaging equipment. High Point did bottles, Wyndridge only could do 16-ounce cans,” Wells said. “Here, we can do 12-ounce, 16-ounce, and 19.2-ounce cans, so we’re able to really get it packaged how we want it to. More importantly, because we control everything, we’re able to pivot [the brewing schedule] on a dime.”
Previously, if Bolero Snort was scheduled to can on Tuesday, it had to can on Tuesday because they were utilizing another brewery’s lines. That didn’t leave room for any hiccups or changes in the schedule, Wells explained.
While other breweries have already reached out to Wells and Olson about utilizing their new home, Wells said they’re filling their tanks with their own beer for now.
“As we continue to grow and add new tanks, its something we’re probably going to add in, but we’re making sure we know how to operate properly first,” Wells said. “We know what it’s like when you’re at the whim of a different chef, and we want to make sure we can give their beer the care and consideration we wanted from our partners.”
Wells is grateful for Bergen County’s small but growing community of breweries, with Brix City in Little Ferry a nine-minute drive away, Ghost Hawk Brewery in Clifton a 10-minute drive away, and Hackensack Brewery and Alementary Brewing in Hackensack less than 15 minutes away, and New Jersey Beer Co. in North Bergen about 15 minutes away.
“We’ve been friends with these guys all along, and it’s great to finally return the favor and host them,” he said.
Bolero Snort will host its grand opening weekend, from Jan. 17 to Jan. 20, with multiple surprise beer releases throughout the weekend. A ribbon-cutting is scheduled for Jan. 18 at noon.