Gene Muller CCAS’77


Under the leadership of Gene Muller, the Flying Fish Brewing Co. has introduced sustainable brewing practices throughout its operation, which takes place in a 45,000-square-foot warehouse built in the 1960s that has been turned into an eco-friendly business hub.

Nick Romanenko

When Gene Muller hosted 150 alumni and Phoebe Haddon, the chancellor of Rutgers University–Camden, this year at the Flying Fish Brewing Co., he didn’t just talk about beer. Muller CCAS’77, the founder and general manager of New Jersey’s largest craft brewery, also shared how Flying Fish took a 1960s warehouse and turned it into an eco-friendly business hub when the company relocated in 2012 to Somerdale, New Jersey. The 45,000-square-foot warehouse had housed a record pressing factory and a millwork company. “We had to rebuild the place, and, as part of that, we wanted to focus on sustainability,” says Muller.

For starters, the company retrofitted the building with new energy-efficient windows and lighting as well as a high-efficiency HVAC system. It also tripled the insulation of the roof and added more than 450 solar panels, which provide the brewery with 10 percent of its energy.

Flying Fish made its beer-making process greener, too. A new brew kettle recaptures steam, which would normally vent outdoors, into a stack condenser that converts it to water. Now, for every five gallons of beer brewed, one gallon of reusable water is created. Instead of throwing out used grain last year, Flying Fish sent almost two million pounds of it to a dairy farmer, who then fed it to his cattle. Landscaping of the brewery’s five acres has also been designed with water conservation in mind, and native plants attract butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.

About 15 percent of the rainwater that hits the building’s roof is diverted into a rain garden that captures and percolates the water into the ground—a big improvement over the water rushing into nearby Cooper Creek and causing erosion. “Being good stewards of the environment helps ensure we have the water and ingredients to make good beer,” Muller says. “It’s also the right thing to do.”