The beloved Westville Brewery is changing ownership on July 1st… being taken over by the Rossi Family of South Jersey .
The Rossi’s are eager to take what works so well already at the brewery, and expand in all areas!
The brewery will remain open every day even as the ownership switches over.
For the most part in the beginning things aren’t changing… same delicious beer recipes and brewer Scott is staying on… but over time the new owners will look to introduce new ideas, investments, and additional creative beers.
Mark from 42Freeway has chatted with Westville Brewery founders Mike and Pam, as well as the new owners who take over July 1st.
Just to be very clear.. the brewery will NOT be closing during the ownership change. Same hours, same delicious beer!
Keep scrolling down for info on the brewery, why the Gordy’s decided to sell, and an introduction to the Rossi’s
Mike and Pam: Four Years of Brewing at Westville Brewery
The Gordy’s trace their start with beer brewing to 1996 when a co-worker of Mike’s first introduced him to the idea of home craft brewing.
With a very small home kit investment the first beer was brewed and fermented in a bedroom closet, bottled in their bathroom, and conditioned in a closet again!
Mike’s day job is in Local 420 Steamfitters and he then used those skills to expand his home brewing system, welding custom frames to build out the system. Soon he had a 10-gallon home system.
The hobby grew into a family affair, as wife Pam joined in the home brewing fun!
As commercial craft breweries with tasting rooms became more popular in South Jersey, the Gordy’s thought… who better than us to move on to the next big step!? Let’s open a brewery!
So in 2018… 20 years after Mike fired up his first home system, they opened Westville Brewery!
The brewery location is a really cool reuse of a historical element of Westville… an old single bay firehouse on Broadway.
The core of the brewery area was a garage bay to house a firetruck, and the original bay garage front opening is still there… as well as the functioning bay door.
I remember Mike telling me during my first visit how the bay door was enclosed within a wall. They had no idea if the garage door was there or functioning.
So they removed that front permanent wall…
… and were happily surprised to see not only was the large powered bay door still there… it still worked!
Today the ability to open up the bay door is a key aspect of the front tasting room area!
The original Gordy based Westville team seemed to focus on innovative and fun beers.
Sure they have a delicious selection of IPAs, Pale Ales and more… but many came with an extra flavorful twist.
A few examples of the unique flavors you can find, on tap right now are Pina Colada NEIPA, Limoncello Crumb Cake, Blueberry Crumb Cake, Frusion-Blackberry Strawberry and more.
A signature beer is their award winning Peach Crumb Cake Milkshake Pale which is a top and fast seller whenever its available.
The Toughest Decision: Deciding To Sell
I caught up with Mike and Pam a few weeks ago during their brewery Anniversary celebration.
Mike was setting up a band performance area… he sings and plays guitar and was having a reunion performance with his ol’ band for that night’s festivitities.
Mike literally had not performed since the plans for the brewery kicked in over 5 years ago.. and he was really looking forward to jamming that night with his old friends.
Which leads us to “Why did they sell?”
If you chat with both of them.. they are refreshingly honest on the decision, which can be most simply wrapped up into; needing more time in their lives for family, friends and each other.
Their May 24th Facebook announcement offers:
Long story short, we are Tired. For our own health – both mentally and physically we have decided to sell. The new owners have great ideas for expansion and will continue brewing recipes you have all come to love.Mike and Pam Gordy ; Founders of Westville Brewery
In my conversation with Mike and Pam… they shared some extra details which lead them to making the decision.
Well for one.. as amazingly successful as Westville Brewery has been… they never reached the point of being able to step away 100% from the day jobs.
They both put long hours in at day jobs, then headed over to the brewery to make beer, run the brewery operations, work the tasting room.
And in a pattern that is all-too-familiar to any small business just starting out; time for family and friends seems to get push to the side. Small business owners will think to themselves “I’ll catch up with the kids as soon as things quiet down at the business”… yet things never seem to slow down.
Pam shared that Mike has not been able to make it to any of their son’s sports games.
For 4+ years Mike’s life was; day job, brewery, bed. Repeat.
I know the Gordy’s had early thoughts to continue expanding and growing the brewery… and maybe there was a fulltime future in it for them! But that would require a brewery large enough to sustain the family AND put good people in place to do many of the day-to-day functions.
So as big of a risk it was for them to start the brewery 4 years ago… moving into that next level would’ve really taken even bigger investments, larger risks… and probably had several more years of even more overloaded days for the Gordy’s.
Factor in 2 crazy years of pandemic challenges on businesses, it all led them to sell Westville Brewery.
They are very sad to see a this chapter of their lives close.. the same Facebook post shares
Our Staff and Regulars have become family, and we are grateful to each and every one of them that have been a part of our success.Mike and Pam Gordy ; Founders of Westville Brewery
But then it’s clear they are incredibly excited to start this new chapter in life… maybe actually living life for a change!
They both said they will visit their old Westville Brewery… happily from the other side of the tasting room bar! And they are also looking forward to visiting so many other breweries and places they just didn’t have the time for over the last 5 years.
Mike and Pam have one more week as brewery owners left! Go visit and say goodbye!
New Ownership, New Ideas, New Capital
Not only have I spoken to the Rossi family who are taking over the Westville Brewery… I actually have known several of the extended family members for over 30 years, going back to high school.
For the future of the brewery this will be a true family effort, as they bring in several family members to help guide them to future success!
The pandemic has made everyone rethink their lives… for Mike and Pam I am sure the pandemic was a factor in having them rethink how much time they spent on day jobs and the brewery.
And for at least one of the family principal owners, they saw this as a chance to break away from Working-for-the boss… to being the boss!
Other members of the family have operated several local businesses over the years, and Westville Brewery became a perfect opportunity for them to put their stamp on a successful South Jersey business.
The Rossi family and friends were regular brewery visitors. They got to know Mike and Pam from their visits, and in casual conversations they had learned the Gordy’s were considering stepping away… which led to a deal for the brewery.
I’ve chatted with the new ownership regarding some of their ideas… but at this immediate moment they are still figuring out those future details as they focus on a clean transition for the brewery ownership!
As ownership changes the brewery will remain open to it’s normal schedule.
They beer recipe ownership transferred over with the purchase.
The Westville Brewery brewer Scott is staying on.
So for the near term, the experience for customers at Westville Brewery should remain mostly the same.. with the addition of getting to know a different amazing local family.
That being said one idea on the table which was shared with me and is very specific to the beer… is to always have the core Westville beers on tap, but to open up a few spots in the draft list for additional creative seasonal beers and flavors.
Westville Broadway Upgrades in Process
There are a few other moving parts at play with the brewery.
For example, the full brewery building is called Westville Square, and just this year the town of Westville purchased the building with plans to redevelop it.
Area news website South Jersey Observer covered that meeting, where the Mayor and Council and council offered “building will be redeveloped by a developer to assist with the borough’s ongoing downtown revitalization efforts”
Beyond the brewery space, there are attached offices and other spaces in the larger back building.. which will fit into a full Westville Broadway redevelopment plan.
Also in the area, Speranza Ristorante has added a full liquor license, and Lorenzo’s Cabana has caught the taste buds of famed food writer Peter Genovese of NJ.com, who has regularly listed Lorenzo’s as a top choice in New Jersey for authentic and delicious Mexican food!
We also hear more food options are coming to that immediate area!
Big things still to come for Westville Brewery and the Broadway district… 42Freeway and South Jersey Observer will keep you informed!
A heartfelt good luck to Pam and Mike, and Louetta and her family.. on the next big chapters of their lives!
Links and Location
Westville NJ 08093