Photo Caption: From left: Pierson Commercial’s Gary Krauss and joins Birdsmouth Beer founders Rocco Laginestra and Andy Gioia as the craft lager brewer prepares to mark its official opening on Oct. 15 at The Commissary at Fort Monmouth. — Courtesy: Pierson Commercial
By Joshua Burd
A craft brewery is set to open its doors at Fort Monmouth after recently leasing space at a repurposed commissary building, according to a brokerage team with Pierson Commercial.
The business, Birdsmouth Beer, will operate a beer production facility and tasting room within the 12,080-square-foot space at 675 Oceanport Way, in the Oceanport section of the former military base. It’s leasing the space from Denholtz Properties, which has restored and renovated the building to create a 53,000-square-foot, multipurpose food and beverage destination known as The Commissary at Baseline.
Pierson Director Gary Krauss represented Birdsmouth in the lease negotiations, while Suzanne Macknow of CBRE represented ownership. Matthew J. Schiller, a partner with Newark-based Murphy Schiller & Wilkes LLP, represented Birdsmouth as lead counsel in connection with the transaction.
“The genesis of the deal was one of those ‘right place, right time’ moments,” Krauss said. “We were in CEO Steven Denholtz’s office when he expressed a high level of interest in bringing in a brewery. Fortunately, I was able to share that I knew just the right guys to make that happen.”
According to Krauss, master brewer Andy Gioia and partner Rocco Laginestra had been searching for the right location for their brewery and tasting room startup. With the lease at The Commissary, the business is now slated to debut on Oct. 15.
“They had been looking for the most-suitable spot within the Jersey Shore submarket, where they could achieve that local feel and be in close and easy proximity to the major arteries of distribution throughout the state,” he added. “The Commissary checked all of their boxes as an exciting new development in an up-and-coming part of affluent Monmouth County. It is close to the beach and offers almost-immediate connectivity to the Garden State Parkway as well as routes 18, 35 and 36.”
Denholtz acquired the former commissary building in 2020 as part of a 26-acre site that also includes a post exchange parcel, a post office area and a warehouse district, along with an adjacent parking lot. Since then, the firm has launched a multiphase redevelopment to repurpose the site as Baseline, a retail and commercial hub at the gateway to the historic, 1,126-acre property.
“Our goal at Fort Monmouth is to create a hub where businesses of all types can thrive and power the resurgence of this important piece of New Jersey’s history,” said Kristine Hurlbut, senior vice president of leasing at Denholtz Properties. “Birdsmouth Beer shares our vision for the future of Fort Monmouth and we look forward to celebrating their success.”
Birdsmouth Beer, which is focusing its production on lagers, is marketing its product line to retailers and restaurants and bars.
“I have to admit,” Krauss added, “the initial research into the design elements of a brewery was one of the most enlightening workdays ever. I got to tour brewery operations and sip a pale ale while making notes on tenant fit-out specifications.”