Eric Ruta is a man with a plan. And a brewery. And he’s 23 years old.
If you haven’t heard of Magnify Brewing in Fairfield yet, it was only a matter of time. More than a few brewery stories start out like this: “I was home brewing and my friends all said I should start a brewery and see what would happen, so I did.” That is not Ruta’s story. Why jump into the business at the tender age of 23? “I figured it was now or never,” he says. “When I’m ready to start a family some day, I want to have established a stable income first.” Clearly, there is no shooting from the hip with Ruta.
That led me to wonder what else he has planned.
First, let’s take a look at where it all started. Ruta’s fascination with good beer started when he was at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, which happens to be the home of Baxter Brewing, where he just happened to get a job in sales and marketing. Then he happened to have a girlfriend in Portland, which, if you didn’t know, is a world-class beer town. After all of that exposure to quality beer, returning to his home in North Jersey was a little underwhelming—at least as far as beer goes. Even more importantly, it revealed a business opportunity: there was a craft beer chasm in North Jersey.
So, what’s Magnify going to do to fill that gap? There will be four core beers:
- A balanced hop forward IPA
- A pale ale with experimental New Zealand hops
- A funky saison with a white wine finish
- A black wheat ale that is akin to a session porter
They’re all popular styles, but each has a bit of a twist. Smart. Ruta also told me he plans to augment the “core four” with a limited release every four to six weeks. That interval, by the way, was carefully thought out as being the optimal amount of time to maintain interest in the brand without overkill. I told you he has a plan!
Naturally, I asked about the limited-release beers. Possibilities include a farmhouse double IPA and a red wine barrel aged saison. Ruta and Head Brewer Erich Carrle (of Speakeasy Ales & Lagers and Greenpoint Beer Works) have clearly made creativity part of the plan. “I want to do cool things, and do what I want to do,” Ruta emphasized. There are no outside investors to please and he tells me that’s the way it will stay. That’s probably a good move. According to Ruta, about one third of his 20 or so accounts actually approached him first. (Proof of the aforementioned chasm.)
Magnify hasn’t been open long but it already has a lively taproom crowd—not that Ruta wants it to turn into a bar. The town of Fairfield was good to him when he approached them about a brewery. Now he wants to be good to them and add value as a destination that will complement the local restaurant scene. A quick look at Magnify’s Facebook page will show you all of the events he has planned with local establishments. That’s all part of the plan, too.
So, if you don’t have any plans, might I suggest a trip up to Fairfield to Magnify Brewing?
Top photo: Tap handles courtesy of IDrinkGoodBeer.com.