Two Jersey Guys with a Passion for the Shore Launch Signature Brew

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East Coast Brewing Co. Pours Beach Haus Beer onto the Shore Scene A Classic American Pilsner that everyone can enjoy.

Embarking on a journey that began in 2007, John “Merk” Merklin and Brian “Really Sharp Guy” Ciriaco have spent the last three years cultivating a dream which launched their entrepreneurial spirit into full-drive, while caressing the love they share for the area they grew up in, the Jersey Shore. In the late spring, early summer of this year, they will get to see their vision come to fruition with the launch of East Coast Brewing Co.’s first beer - evocative of the Shore and its style - Beach Haus.

The idea to launch a beer specific to the Jersey Shore came to John when he was on a business trip in early 2007. Reading Beer School: Bottling Success at the Brooklyn Brewery by Steve Hindy and Tom Potter, founders of Brooklyn Brewery, John had an illuminating discovery – the Jersey Shore, home to a population of almost two million residents where numbers swell to five times that in some cities during the summer months had no regional beer of its own; something he found to be positively preposterous. By the time his flight had landed, he was certain that divine intervention had taken place and it was his destiny to create this regional beer and a company to support it.

Similar to his new found idols at the Brooklyn Brewery, John could think of no one else other than his long-time friend and high school comrade, Brian, to set out on this mission to create a Jersey Shore beer.

“Brian and I have gone back and forth a handful of times about going into business together,” said John “Merk” Merklin. “But it gets harder as you get older to take that leap into the unknown. To go from a good, cushy job to starting your own business from scratch is a big nut to swallow. It certainly takes a different breed to be an entrepreneur, especially in this economy.”

No strangers to craft beer, the two took advantage of every opportunity to feast on anything and everything local when traveling in their past lives as International Sales Executives at Quintum Technologies. Indulging in craft beers from all over the world, including some notable North American craft beers, the two developed a discerning palate and appreciation for lagers and ales.

“We go on a ski trip almost every year and we came across Long Trail Brewery and I can remember exactly where I was when I had my first Long Trail Ale,” Brian “Really Sharp Guy” Ciricao reminisced. “It evoked an experience of Vermont that I will never forget. The memory and the beer are synonymous to me now.”

“Yeah, when you come to the shore, you always leave with a set experiences – whether it is walking the boardwalk, laying out at the beach, having your first bite of funnel cake. I can see enjoying a glass of Beach Haus becoming synonymous with these experiences,” John proudly states. “There is no other commercially available Classic American Pilsner on the market, at least that I am aware of, and now the Jersey Shore will have a brand and style to calls its own.”

A three-year refining process has brought them to where they are today – getting ready to launch a true American product, a pre-prohibition style pilsner, made with all American ingredients, including Mt. Hood Hops.

Aspiring to become a pillar of industry at the Jersey Shore, two local guys are realizing their dream, despite the economy, and fueling their love of craft beer and the Jersey Shore. It’s in the Haus!


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