When Gene Muller founded Flying Fish Brewing Co. in 1995, he did so first on the World Wide Web – making it the world’s first virtual microbrewery. That early Web site helped generate positive press coverage and helped attract the investors needed to make the virtual brewery a real one. Muller said the idea was to make the Web site “This Old House meets the World Wide Web”—letting people go behind the taps and see the thousands of details needed to put a microbrewery together.
He also wanted to give beer lovers a chance, via their computers, to roll up their cyber-sleeves and help build the brewery. The site let beer lovers help select and name beers, design t-shirts and labels, volunteer to be a taste-tester and even apply for a job as a brewer. Visitors to the Web site can sign up for FlyingFishMail a monthly e-mail newsletter which now boasts more than 12,000 subscribers.
Muller, who got into the brewing field to become a brewer, trained at Chicago’s Siebel Institute of Technology, America’s oldest brewing school. He quickly realized someone was going to have to run the day-to-day business of the brewery and now serves as President and Head Janitor (though not necessarily in that order).
Flying Fish Brewing Company is located in Somerdale, New Jersey. In a state that once boasted 50 breweries, it is the first microbrewery in Southern New Jersey and the first new brewery built in that part of the state in more than half a century. From its opening in late 1996, Flying Fish has tripled its capacity and become the largest of the approximately 20 craft breweries in the state.
We now produce four full-time styles, as well as a variety of seasonal beers.
The key word to describe all Flying Fish beers is “balance.” The beers are full-flavored, yet highly drinkable. Flavors harmonize, not fight for individual attention. Hopping is generous, but to style. Seeing beer as equal to, if not superior to, wine, Flying Fish beers are designed to complement food. Because of this effort, one can walk into any fine restaurant in the Philadelphia region and be pretty sure of finding a Flying Fish beer available.
Flying Fish beers were the first in the region to be featured at the Great British Beer Festival, Oregon Brewers Festival and Canada’s Biere de Mondial Festival. They have also won several medals at the Real Ale Festival in Chicago, the World Beer Championships and is the only New Jersey brewery featured in the 2000 book Best American Beers.