Lower Forge Brewery is Medford, New Jersey‘s original Craft Beer Brewery, Independently Owned and Operated with all of our beer made on premises at 14 South Main Street in the Historic Downtown Village. We started work on making this possible in 2013, successfully campaigning for new laws that would allow us to brew great craft beer in Medford. We obtained our building in 2014, the former home of the Print Shop, General Store, Music Store, Township Post Office, and more in the past 150 years. After over a year of construction & remodeling, we opened our doors in early Spring 2016 and held a Grand Opening celebration a month later during American Craft Beer Week in May.
In our first year, we began wholesaling on a limited basis to accounts from our hometown to the other end of New Jersey. We became the first craft beer brewery in New Jersey to come part of the Sustainable Business Registry in our home state with a combination of an aggressive solid waste reduction program and 100% spent grain recycling program with local farms.
Just after our first anniversary, as we began our second year in production – we won two awards from the Burlington County Times for being one of the Best Craft Beer Breweries and Local Tourism Destinations in the County. Throughout the year, we expanded our barrel aging program and continued to develop experimental recipes into production releases. Our brewers developed a small-scale packaging line with both canning and bottling capabilities for retail and wholesale customers. Finally, our cellar floor expanded with new fermentation space to help celebrate our second anniversary with more production space for craft beer than ever since we opened our doors.
Lower Forge was originally the nickname of Washington Furnace, a lost town in the Pine Barrens where the ruins of long-forgotten industry have been swallowed by the forest. It’s a place to explore the the things that built our area and our town, past history that was forgotten under the development and modern hustle that blankets New Jersey. For us, our two passions to slow down the modern world were exploring the forgotten towns of the Pine Barrens like Lower Forge – and homebrewing various styles ranging from the traditional to eclectic.
When Medford fell on hard times, our founders were part of a group that helped change the idea of what should be in our downtown – and the idea to build Medford’s first craft brewery was born. We worked for years to overturn ordinances and local laws that dated back to Prohibition, and campaigned to have our town leaders update restrictions that made it impossible to build something new in our town.
Finally, in 2014, after a year and half of hard work – we were able to secure our location on South Main Street and begin building a craft beer brewery. We still had a hard road of sometimes working with and sometimes fighting our town to build the brewery that Main Street needed – and on April 15, 2016 we became Medford’s first fully licensed brewery and sold a growler to one of our Main Street neighbors as our first sale. Small events followed, and finally we held a special event on May 12 to welcome members of our Committee of 250 – a special group that helped us open and acts as our inner circle of fans and friends.
One week later, we held our Grand Opening during American Craft Beer Week on May 19, 2016.
Since then, we’ve rapidly grown and begun distributing to accounts both local and as far away as the New York city area. We’ve hired help to introduce new visitors to our beers in our sampling room, and doubled capacities in the brewery to make even more of our great brews. Now, we’re approaching our second anniversary and have exceeded milestones we didn’t expect to hit until our fourth year – and we’re just getting started.
Follow us here on our web site – as well as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter – to find out what we’re brewing on South Main Street or learn where you can find us at bars, restaurants, and retailers near you.