WEST OCEAN CITY – Just about six months since the first batch of craft beers rolled out of the 16 Mile Brewing Company in Georgetown, Del., the microbrewery made its first foray into Maryland last weekend at the Greene Turtle in West Ocean City.
Founded by a pair of lower Delaware residents who returned to the area after graduating from Washington College and going off in different directions, the 16 Mile Brewing Company is the latest endeavor in an increasingly growing trend to return to rich, full-flavored craft beers.
Owners and brewers Chad Campbell and Brett McCrea grew up in Sussex County and both went to Washington College before embarking on careers far removed from craft brewing.
The pair returned to their lower Delaware roots last year intent on starting a new business when the idea for starting a brewery emerged. They quickly set up shop in an old structure in the heart of historic Georgetown, Del. in a building dating back to the early 1900s. Georgetown is the seat of Sussex County, and, according to local legend, is no further than 16 miles from anywhere in the county, which provided the name for the new enterprise.
Thus far, Campbell and McCrea have been successful in getting their craft beers in bars, taverns and package stores throughout Delaware. Last Friday, they made their first foray into Maryland with the opening of a tap at the Greene Turtle in West Ocean City. Campbell said last week extending into the Maryland coastal area was the next logical step in the evolution of the brewery and the Greene Turtle provided the perfect venue for the first outlet for the craft beers.
“We need to grow, but at the same time, we have a desire to stay compact,” he said. “We really want to serve the local community and take this as far as it will go, but we also want to stay hands-on. Sometimes, if you get too big, too fast, you lose a little control over the product.”
Campbell said the 16 Mile beers are created borrowing the simple approach of other successful businesses in the area.
“It’s pretty natural around here with business owners and chefs preferring to use local produce in their restaurants whenever possible,” he said. “This is an extension of that. These beers are meant to compliment food. As a microbrewer, we are consistently drawn to recipes that are traditional in style but that allow us to add our own distinctive flair.”