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Raccoon Taproom in Collingswood is Open. I Visited, Chatted and Beveraged

Raccoon Taproom in Collingswood is Open. I Visited, Chatted and Beveraged
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The Raccoon Taproom brewery in Collingswood celebrated it’s Grand Opening last weekend. I visited on Sunday and caught up with owner Marvin Bowe who gave me a full tour of his second South Jersey brewery.

Marvin is well known in the South Jersey Brewery scene, having made a name for himself with his popular Swedesboro Brewing Co which opened in 2021.  Swedesboro Brewing continues to thrive and they recently expanded the tasting room space to include “Hoppie Daze” event space to Swedesboro (Facebook)

Raccoon Taproom is now open in Collingswood NJ. Opening weekend crowd.

For his new venture into Camden County, Marvin took over the former Devil’s Creek Brewing Company on Haddon Ave. The Collingswood Devil’s Creek closed at the very end of 2023 and in the months since, Marvin and his team worked to upgrade the space and brewing operations.

Marvin shared with me his updates to the Collingswood space, his future plans for the brewery… and over an ice cold Flying Steagle lager or two we even about a variety of topics including his love for local history which he regularly brings into his beer branding.

Raccoon Taproom is now open in Collingswood NJ

If you’re unfamiliar with the location, Raccoon Taproom is at the corner of Haddon  Ave and Powell Lane.  The brewery takes the prime corner location of the large Lumberyard complex (which features multiple floors of residential above, and retail on the ground floor).

Marvin did a smart thing with the brewery remodel by recognizing all the things that worked well with the original layout, and improving things where it made sense.

Raccoon Taproom Collingswood NJ
Raccoon Taproom Collingswood NJ. Now open!

This means when you visit the Raccoon Taproom you’ll immediately realize the core layout is much the same in regards to the positioning of the bar, taps and the brewery room space in the back.

But then at the same time everything is completely new.

As an example he realized the seating configuration needed to be improved so “out” were all of the wooden group picnic tables and its place are comfortable cushioned chairs and tables…. 56 seats total in the space, with room for another 19 to hang out.

Raccoon Taproom is now open in Collingswood NJ. Opening weekend crowd.

Raccoon Taproom is not an overly large brewery, and as it’s configured now with bar, table seating and perimeter seating…it’s a very smart and comfortable use of the room.

For the decor changes, gone are these corrugated steel panels which lined the bar front and backwall… and in their place is a wood facade which was created from the former picnic tables that Devil’s Creek utilized.

Back in the brewing area there were significant changes, which may not be readily apparent to the casual visitor.   Marvin utilized some of the larger brewing vessels in the new brewery setup but much of the brewery equipment is new to the Collingswood brewery.  The team also reworked all of the connecting pieces of plumbing, gaskets, valves and more to make sure the beer was consistently fresh and produced efficiently.

He even found additional storage space in the building to move the heavy bags of grains and other items out of the brewery room space. Efficiency and capacity were instantly improved. The draft system and connected beer refrigerator space was also reconfigured, giving the Raccoon Taproom more space to keep fresh ice cold kegs of beer on hand.

Today, the Raccoon Taproom is a refreshed and improved tasting room and brewery area… serving delicious beers under the Swedesboro Brewing umbrella.

Part of the Raccoon Taproom Team!

Speaking of delicious beers, in the state of New Jersey breweries are only allowed to sell beer that has been produced in their facility.   Which means every beer you buy and drink at the Raccoon Taproom is made right there in Collingswood.

So Marvin has chosen to brew a small selection of his top beers in both Swedesboro and Collingswood, which he says was an excellent way for them to fully test out the Raccoon Taproom brewing equipment and ensure that they were creating a product in both breweries that were exactly the same.

A delicious and light “go to, every day” drinker! Flying Steagle at Raccoon Taproom Collingswood

He’s also moved over the Flying Steagle beer to the Raccoon Taproom, as a signature Collingswood brand.

I mentioned that Marvin has a true love for local history… and with his Flying Steagle beer it’s almost like the universe decided Marvin should own a Collingswood brewery and make that light and refreshing lager on Haddon Ave!

Long before he knew he was going to own a Collingswood brewery, Marvin named his the cool-fermented lager “Flying Steagle”… which was the nickname for Ted Laux who was a Collingswood high school student in the 1930s.

During World War 2, the “Steagles” was the name given to the temporarily merged team of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles! And Collingwood’s Ted Laux earned the nickname The Flying Steagle!

Marvin tells me he has additional new beers coming to the Collingswood Raccoon Taproom which also connect to the area…  including one he plans on naming after Elizabeth Haddon whose name is also memorialized in Haddon Township and Haddonfield from her founding of those two towns.

Another beer is expected to be called Irish Tenth which is a name that goes back to the 1600s when the Quakers from Ireland settled in the lands along the Delaware River between Pennsauken and Big Timber Creeks.

Marvin is clearly excited about his new brewery, the upgrades and being a part of the Collingswood community.

He was also just as excited to tell me about the head brewer that he has in place at the Raccoon Taproom.   Marvin brought back an old friend and beer brewing master Ingrid Robinson to take over the brewing duties at the Raccoon Taproom. He tells me Ingrid has played a key part of a variety of popular area breweries taking on roles in brewing, beer recipe creation and even initial brewery design and setup!

Marvin and I finished our conversation outside where he told me about his other business which is in the marketing arena.  He tells me that the small businesses combined employ enough people that he’s able to offer his full-time brewery staff a full benefit package… which I feel is likely a rare thing in the industry.

Which leads us to another key aspect of Marvin’s drive for his breweries…  he’s very focused and concerned about the customer experience, as well as providing a positive work environment for his staff.

One of Marvin’s beliefs is that when you have a good experience with a business you may tell a friend, but if you have a bad experience with a business… you’re going to tell 10 people!

Honestly though in chatting with him for over an hour it was clear to me that his normal operating mode was just trying to make sure things went smoothly, efficiently and having happy customers and a happy staff.

Raccoon Taproom is now open in Collingswood NJ. Opening weekend crowd.

As we were sitting out front looking back at the tasting room Marvin commented that one thing he doesn’t have at the Raccoon Taproom right now is an outdoor patio experience.

For a short time under the relaxed pandemic rules the prior brewery was allowed seating on the sidewalk, but now that things are back to normal the rules have rolled back and he cannot offer sidewalk seating.

But Marvin has plans for in the future to remove the the larger exterior glass panels and replace them with the roll-up garage door style windows so that in nice weather he’ll be able to open up the brewery to the outdoors.

And while the tasting room is a good size it likely leans more to the smaller-to-mid category.   Recognizing this Marvin has thoughts about expanding the brewery in the future, hoping to take over some of the adjacent office space to develop a larger tasting room.

So I chose to put this online today (Wednesday) because this is when the Raccoon Taproom hours start for the week.

  • Wed/Thurs:  5-10pm
  • Friday: 3-10pm
  • Saturday: 12-10
  • Sunday: 12-?

Links and Location

Racoon Taproom – Now Open!
1 Powell Lane
Collingswood, NJ 08108

Swedesboro Brewery
95 Woodstown Rd., Unit P
Swedesboro, NJ 08085