Cape May Earns “Jersey Fresh” Designation

Remember the singing California raisins? Of course you do. What about the state’s “happy cows?” If you’re older than 20, you probably remember that marketing campaign, too. Well, New Jersey has its own agricultural branding program, called Jersey Fresh, and it’s become the model for other states that want to implement similar locally-grown, quality-assurance seals. According to one former Jersey-based USDA exec, Jersey Fresh is even as well-known and well-respected nationally as those cute-as-a-shriveled-fruit ad spots have been for more than two decades.

Well, three-year-old Cape May Brewing Co. hasn’t necessarily made a national name for itself yet – in fact, it only late last year started sending its beer into Philly from its distribution area in South Jersey – but it’s now capitalizing on the cachet that comes with associating one’s company with the Jersey Fresh label.

Because Cape May uses 7.5 lbs of official Jersey Fresh honey in every 15 barrel batch of its Honey Porter, the state has just approved the brewery’s application to identify the beer the same way. It’s the first beer to receive the designation and as far as Cape May co-owner and Garden State Brewers Guild President Ryan Krill knows, no other brewers are currently looking to become number two.

So what does Krill hope to get out of selling a Jersey Fresh beer?

“More awareness for the Jersey Fresh program and to emphasize all the cool stuff going on in New Jersey,” he says.

Krill says the state workers who approved the application were as excited as brewery employees were.

“They were going crazy about it,” he says. “They thought adding a beer was so cool.”

Though the state’s nascent distilling industry has won the right to label products made with at least 51% Jersey-grown ingredients as “New Jersey Distilled,” Krill says the Brewers Guild isn’t pursuing a “New Jersey Brewed” label – at least for now.