Brewing company set to open in Phillipsburg

Brian Pedersen//September 27, 2019

Brewing company set to open in Phillipsburg

Brian Pedersen//September 27, 2019

A family-run business with several members working in the science field is behind the opening of a new brewery in Phillipsburg, N.J.

Steve Zolnay, an engineer and brewer, works inside the new space for Invertase Brewing Co., a brewery opening in Phillipsburg, New Jersey in October. (Submitted) –

Invertase Brewing Co. will open Oct. 10 in a vacant space at 51 North Broad St. next to CrossFit Phillipsburg.

Co-owner Steve Zolnay said the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control gave the site a positive review, which would allow the business to get its permit in two weeks.

“It’s a fantastic location, a lot of space. We actually looked at many river towns,” Zolnay said. “A lot of these towns are very restrictive.”

Zolnay said he looked at Clinton, Frenchtown and Lambertville, New Jersey for a spot to open a brewery but said Phillipsburg had the easiest government to work with.

Zolnay, a biochemist who has more than 25 years in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry, said the name Invertase came from a process that occurs when making beer. Invertase is the name of the enzyme responsible for starting the fermentation process. Invertase splits the sugar molecule sucrose into glucose and fructose so that the yeast can start making alcohol, he said.

Zolnay, who lives in Stockton, New Jersey, has spent 15 years brewing beer as a home brewer.

He said he and his family decided it was time to start their own business.

“We have been making beer as home brewers,” Zolnay said. “It’s a very good business. We’ve always been hands-on and worked together as a team. We’ve seen craft brewers starting up. We decided to give it a try.”

His wife, Karen Zolnay, also has a scientific background as a diagnostic virologist.

Other family members will participate.

Aside from himself, Zolnay’s son Steve and son-in-law Chris Woidill are business partners in the venture, while Zolnay’s wife, Karen, and daughter Kaitlynn, play active roles in the company. Kaitlynn will handle social media responsibilities and is the real estate agent who secured the space.

In addition, Zolnay’s sister-in-law, Lauren Russell and her husband Richard Russell are graphic design artists whose company, River Rose Designs, help maintain Invertase’s website and creative design.

Invertase has a 5,000-square-foot internal space with 2,500square feet for customers and 2,500 square feet for manufacturing. In addition, it will have a 2,500-square-foot outdoor beer garden, with pets welcome.

Zolnay said he expects the outdoor space to be open next spring.

Though the business cannot serve food, Zolnay said he plans to collaborate with local food establishments to provide delivery options.

He plans to start with five beers on tap and make a variety of options available, including a stout/porter, IPA- New England and West Coast, Belgian –Dubel and Tripel, ales and seasonal offerings, and sour beers.

The hours will be Friday 5 to 9 p.m., Saturday noon to 9 p.m. and Sunday noon to 8 p.m.

Zolnay said he is aiming for a fun, family-friendly atmosphere.