In the five years since King’s Road Brewing Company first opened its doors in Haddonfield thanks to the foresight and entrepreneurial spirit of five close friends, it has quickly established itself as one of the premier destinations in the region for craft beer and expanded to a second location in Medford.
In addition to becoming immersed in the local communities it calls home, welcoming both craft beer enthusiasts and newcomers to the scene with open arms, and producing a variety of high-quality brews, King’s Road’s strength lies in its diverse team.
Josh Ervine is the director of brewing operations and oversees the company’s Medford location with the help of assistant brewer Jayme Greaves. The Haddonfield location is commanded by head brewer Brian Murphy, who is supported by his assistant, Colin Duffy. Ervine and Murphy have many, many similarities, but it is their differences that make them so valuable to the company.
“I’m an old curmudgeon and I like classic beers,” Ervine says with a laugh. “I like crystal-clear lagers and English beers. Brian is a young fella. He is great at making all beers, but especially New England IPAs and others that are on trend.
“We’re on the same page as to what kind of beers we want out there. Although we enjoy different styles of brewing and there are some differences between the locations, in terms of overall reach we are consistent.”
“I think having a cohesive brand is important,” Murphy adds. “We know the walls that we live within, but also we’re able to do different things and each of our different experiences help to make a wider selection of beers than maybe we had in the past, before Josh and I were on board.”
Just as dissimilar as their styles and tastes are the paths they took to King’s Road. A native of Ocean City, Ervine attended Temple University before moving to the West Coast, where he first started dabbling in brewing in the 1990s. He came back to the area and played instrumental roles in a number of well-known breweries, including Dock Street, Yards and Iron Hill, before finding a home at King’s Road.
“I came to King’s Road because I saw a ton of potential with the brewery, the owners, their involvement in the community and the direction they were taking,” he says.
Murphy grew up in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, and got into home brewing with his cousin, Tom Dooner, who currently works at Dock Street. After graduating from St. Joe’s, he later attended and graduated from the brewing program at the University of the Sciences, eventually deciding to pursue his passion on a full-time basis. He joined King’s Road just over two years ago and was elevated to head brewer in Haddonfield during the summer of 2021.
“It’s nice to see people enjoying your beer every day,” he says. “I think a fun thing that we do here is we have a decent mix of those older styles that have been around forever—they’re classics for a reason—but we also try to stay with trends. We don’t chase hype in a way that we’re just doing the new, hot thing to get attention. We take the longer view and make styles of beer that we think are going to be around for a while, that we can tinker with and perfect.”
The selection includes top sellers like King’s Gold lager and Ample Vengeance, a New England-style IPA, along with a rotating list of customer favorites and new beers that Ervine or Murphy have concocted.
“We try to keep something on the menu for everyone,” Ervine says. “People will say, ‘I’m not really a beer drinker.’ But then we’ll say, ‘Try this. It might change your perception of what beer is.’ Then there are people who come in who are super beer nerds, and they want something dynamic.
“Our staff is super knowledgeable and they make it an experience when people come in. I think our overall mission, which might get lost at some other places, is that we really try to tie into the community both in Haddonfield and Medford.”
“Whenever you can make yourself part of the community and make people feel a connection to your brand, it can only help you and it makes loyal customers for life,” Murphy says. “I recently met someone who just moved here and they got a King’s Road growler for to-go beer, and they said they feel like a real Haddonfield resident now. They wouldn’t feel that way unless we were engaging with the community.”
King’s Road believes it has some of the best beer in the area, and is hoping to get it into the hands of more customers. That’s why the company recently started canning its brews and is excited to have it available in local restaurants and stores. The goal for 2023 is also to push into Philadelphia, and because of their connections to Dock Street, plans for a collaboration beer are brewing.
Whether patrons are enjoying King’s Road beer at home in cans or growlers, or stopping by for a fun night out in Haddonfield or Medford, Ervine is certain they will appreciate the effort that goes into each offering, which starts with the head brewers.
“Because I have been doing this for a long time, I really take pride in the fact that I’ve trained a lot of good brewers,” he says. “It’s fun teaching the things that come up every day that you have to handle as a brewery; you have to wear a lot of hats, and that’s the skill set I bring. Brian brings a whole lot of passion to it, which is nice to see in someone so early in his career.”