During the early years of the internet, it was hard to predict just how impactful it would be to the world in the years to come. In 1995, many people had never been online and were very unfamiliar with the ins and outs of technology. Gene Muller, founder of Flying Fish Brewing Company, saw this as an opportunity to kick start a dream that he had. He created Flying Fish Brewing Company as the first virtual microbrewery in the world, using it to generate buzz and give people an inside look of what it takes to start a successful microbrewery. Muller also used this platform to give users a chance to suggest beer names, design t-shirts, and even apply for positions in the physical brewery that was soon to come. After catching the attention of investors, Gene was able to open the brewery in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, in the closing months of 1996.
Gene decided on the name “Flying Fish” from a constellation in the southern hemisphere that represents exploration and adventure. He viewed this as a way for consumers to step outside the box and enjoy beers that they normally would shy away from. The vision was to create fresh, full-flavored, well-balanced beers with generous amounts of hops and flavors that worked well together, and Flying Fish did just that.
Over the years, Flying Fish grew significantly across the state of New Jersey and beyond, picking up multiple awards along the way and eventually becoming the largest commercial brewer in New Jersey. In 2011, the growth and popularity of the brand forced the brewery to move to its current 45,000 square foot location in Somerdale, NJ. One of the many attributes that make Flying Fish unique is how environmentally conscious they are. The new brewery includes 463 solar panels covering the exterior, solar tube lighting in the warehouse, rainwater collection vessels, and energy-efficient boilers. Their dedication to reducing their impact on the environment clearly sets them apart from other breweries of their caliber, making them one of the most sustainable breweries in the world.
Although he is still involved with the business, Gene Muller has since taken a step back and passed the duties of running the brewery to others. In 2017, Lou Romano, former national sales manager for Oskar Blues Brewery, assumed the role of President after a competitive search process. Lea Ann Wood, lead brewer at Flying Fish, received her job at the brewery shortly after graduating from the prestigious American Brewers Guild Craft Brewers’ Apprenticeship program. Wood’s determination and passion for the industry has helped her make her mark on the traditionally male-dominated beer scene.
Flying Fish has stuck to their roots and continually brewed their flagship beers Hopfish, Xtra Pale Ale, and Abbey Dubbelsince the beginning, but have done a fantastic job adapting to the change in consumer interest. Most recently, Flying Fish introduced Hazy Bonesinto their year-round brews. This hazy, juicy, New England style IPA is packed with notes of grapefruit and pineapple and is sure to please even the hardest hop junkies out there. Another addition to the year-round arsenal is Salt and Sea. This session sour is offered in a 15-pack variety and gives off flavors of strawberry and lime with a hint of salt.Consumers can now enjoy this beer in flavors such as pineapple mango and blackberry kiwi. As for the popular seasonal releases, Tradewinds Tropical Wheat, an ultra-refreshing summer beer brewed with passion fruit and guava, will have you feeling as if you are on the islands, wherever that may be. Farmhouse Golden Ale, filled with notes of lemon zest and finished with a crisp, malty flavor, is a seasonal release that consumers look forward to year after year.
It is no surprise that the combination of Flying Fish’s extensive beer offerings, sustainability efforts, creative marketing, and welcoming atmosphere has allowed them to become the New Jersey powerhouse that they are. Their location in Somerdale, New Jersey, only twelve miles outside of Center City, Philadelphia, is a fantastic place for families and friends to spend the day and enjoy some truly awesome beers with a ton of history behind it. There is no telling where Flying Fish can go from here, but it is looking like they will be even closer to the top.