One of the staples in any community is the small businesses owned by the people who live and contribute to that community. In a world where many local businesses could not stay viable because of the COVID-19 Pandemic Lockdowns, one South Jersey business is celebrating their survival and inviting the community to thank everyone for their support.

Gusto Brewing Company is the southern most Craft Producer in New Jersey
Photo from Google Maps

The New Jersey Craft Brewery that is located the furthest south is celebrating their fifth anniversary.  Gusto Brewing Company had been open for 14 months when March 2020 changed everyone's lives and in spite of all the obstacles, they endured with a small team, and are thankful to share their passion with a community that has embraced them.

Gusto Brewing Company is a microbrewery with a small staff
Photo Courtesy of Niemann Productions

On Friday, December 15th and Saturday, December 16th Gusto Brewing is having a two-day celebration of their anniversary featuring Special Anniversary Craft Beers, Live Music, Giveaways, and more. I spoke with owner Zach Pashley about what this anniversary means for him and his small team at Gusto:

"There's truly no substitute (for) Community and Hard work.  At the onset (of COVID) we had two goals: (1) Everyone keeps their jobs, no one is laid off and (2) our duty to provide the best and freshest beer to our community, no matter how we have to do it. - Our squad never skipped a beat, we were open every day of the week fulfilling online and walk-up orders, and our faith in this community, who embraced us was not unfounded."

Gusto Brewing Co-Owner Zach Pashley inside the North Cape May Brewery
Photo Courtesy of Niemann Productions

Over five years ago, Zach and his wife, Adriana, took a risk when they decided to open their Craft Brewery in North Cape May where the old Bayshore 8 Theater used to be located. With Head Brewer Dan Petela joining them, they have established Gusto Brewing Company as one of the best Craft Breweries in Cape May County. But in 2020, they were unsure if they would be celebrating a five-year anniversary:

"Some days (in 2020 during COVID) were bonkers, some days we played lots of chess and watched movies but we had faith that our endeavor would emerge in some way or another.  And aside from our faith in God, who is truly in control, (we found) this community is full of people who love proper beer and embrace the good folks who provide it."

Gusto Brewing T-Shirt
Photo Courtesy of Niemann Productions

Like many small businesses, their success involves perseverance and community support.  But Zach was quick to point out that Gusto Brewing would not be where it is today without Dan Patela, who left working a Cape May Brewing Company to team up with the Pashleys:

"Adriana and I talked pretty romantically about 'burning the boats' 5+ years ago. Like, marooned on an island and you must survive so you torch your only means of escape, a type of boat burning.  And, in hindsight, it was truer than we ever could have thought. We weren't the only ones taking a risk, though; Dan seized the opportunity to come brew full-time and have full control over the beer in our little brewery adventure. Thank God he did, because fast forward to this completion of Gusto's fifth trip around the sun, the quality of the liquid is what we'd always planned it would be."

Gusto Brewing Tank in North Cape May, NJ
Photo by Josh Hennig/Townsquare Media

As Gusto Brewing celebrates its five-year anniversary this weekend, it is a time for reflection for Zach Pashley and his team that operates their microbrewery in North Cape May.  For craft beer customers, they have come to know what can expect from their favorite breweries and Gusto has become one of the must-visit staples of the Craft Beer Community.  And Zach told me when we spoke that the goals of their business haven't changed:

"Five years ago, we were blessed to start making beer for beer people. The best beer we knew how (to make), all the while toiling over the minutiae which makes the difference between good beer and great beer. Today, we still make beer for beer people, because that's who we are; Only now, we have some wisdom working in our corner from a little bit of time and a lot of work. Dan (Patela) is relentless in the research and development department so I'm not going to waste any time worrying over his piece of the puzzle, that dude is a savage - We're full speed ahead on uncovering avenues by which to make fresh and interesting beer in fresh and interesting ways to serve our community and those blessed enough to visit it....Because that's why we started this place: to do the things we love with all of the gusto we can muster!"

For more information about Gusto Brewing Company celebrating their five year anniversary and all they are offering visitors to North Cape May this weekend, you can visit their Facebook Event page here.

Top 10 Things To Do This Off-Season in Cape May, NJ Area

Anyone who has lived in Cape May County knows that even though half the businesses close during the winter, the locals still love living in this area for many reasons. As someone who has lived in Cape May County for over 20 years, here are some of my favorite activities to do in the offseason:

Gallery Credit: Josh Hennig/Townsquare Media

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