LITTLE FERRY, N.J. -- A love of craft beer and a backyard hobby for two friends have extracted a full-fledged borough brewery -- the first in Bergen County.
Joe Delcalzo and Peter Ruther began brewing in March and within two months opened their Brix Brewery just off Liberty Street near Route 46.
The Hasbrouck Heights High School graduates have been friends since they were 14. Delcalzo later studied accounting at Ramapo College Ruther set off to serve in Iraq in the U.S. Army.
Ruther's love of beer began brewing when he was stationed in Germany, fermented in his backyard after he returned from overseas and reached maturity with a road trip.
"We visited over 70 breweries around the country and really immersed ourselves," Delcalzo said.
Ruther was looking for something to do after the militar. Delcalzo wanted to get out from behind a desk.And, so, a hobby became a profession.
Although opening a brewery in New York is much easier and cheaper, Ruth and Delcalzo wanted to be pioneers.
"There were no breweries in Bergen County so we kind of wanted to be the first ones around here," Delcalzo said. "We wanted to stick around here and create a culture."
They ran into problems trying to establish their business first in Lodi and then in Hackensack before settling in Little Ferry."The town was really receptive to having us," Delcalzo said.
From brewing to bottling, the two friends do it all, with help from a lone employee. They offer a wide range of beers on tap, with some rotating based on the season.
"We brew everything that we like to drink, which is pretty much everything," Delcalzo said.
Brix's brews are available in about 25 restaurants and bars in North Jersey, with plans to expand in other areas. There is also a tasting room and tours.
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