June 8, 2023

Five years in the making, Ross Brewing to open Monmouth County brewery next week

3 minute read


It’s been a long time coming, but Ross Brewing is ready to open their doors.

Five years in the making, the craft brewery will open in the Port Monmouth section of Middletown on Friday, April 14. It will join the 140-plus brewing operations currently making Jersey fresh beer.

The opening will be followed by a weekend-long, grand opening celebration through Sunday, April 16, with live music, celebrity beer tenders, and 12 different beers, including two new releases.

The Asbury Park Press and USA TODAY NETWORK New Jersey first reported on John Ross Cocozza’s plans to open his Ross Brewing Company in 2018 — and quite a bit has changed since then.

Ross was originally intended to join the already-crowded Red Bank brewing community, home to three breweries or brew pubs, with plans to open on White Street in the summer of 2018.

By early 2020, the project had moved to 909 Main St. in Port Monmouth, the former site of the Shoal Harbor Lobster Company. The property is just 100 yards or so south of Sandy Hook Bay, near the Belford Ferry and the Belford Seafood Co-Op, and boats a 100-foot dock on the Compton Creek waterfront. It’s been hyped as the first brewery in the state you can arrive at by boat.

Ross Brewing has stayed busy, contract brewing its beer and hard cider at different locations across New York and New Jersey — including Cypress Brewing in Edison and Bolero Snort in Carlstadt — in order to maintain a presence in bars, restaurants and liquor stories. The company has released 41 products to date.

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Ross will launch with its four biggest sellers: Navesink IPA, Shrewsbury Lager, Passaic Porter and Manasquan Wit, as well as its Shark River Pils and Toms River Pale Ale. There also will be two debuts: Raritan Red Rye, and Launch Party — a limited edition pomegranate IPA.

Cocozza said the first phase of Ross Brewing’s opening will encompass the production brewhouse with 14 opening weekend beers in rotation in an eight-tap tasting room, a retail and package goods shop, as well as two waterfront beer gardens with firepits and outdoor games.

“You’ve got fishing trawlers and tugs going back and forth all day long,” Cocozza said. “There’s no brewery anywhere in New Jersey, New York or Pennsylvania that has views like this, and it really makes for an entertaining environment.”

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The three-day opening extravaganza starting April 14 will include live music, celebrity entertainment and plenty of activities.

Cocozza expects to open the brewery’s second phase about six months later, which will include the property’s two-story, 24-tap back building tasting room, and a refinished dock that will also serve as a drinking area.

"It feels amazing,” he said, to be closer than ever to opening day at his brewery’s Port Monmouth home.

“It’s been a grind,” he added. “Brewing our beer and even cider at seven different locations in two states, it’s also been a logistical challenge. So, finally to be able to brew the beer on site, serve it to people on our own system fresh as soon as we make it — boy, it’s just been a long time coming. ... This is going to be a dream come true for a lot of people.”

Gabriela L. Laracca contributed to this story.