TileLetter is the industry's leading tile magazine

Friday, May 17, 2024

The industry’s leading tile installation magazine

HomeContentArtisanCustom “Hopdrangea” wall tile sets the stage for Bloomfield, N.J.’s first brewery

Custom “Hopdrangea” wall tile sets the stage for Bloomfield, N.J.’s first brewery

New Jersey companies Varitage Brew Works, Imagine Tile Inc., and Maestro Works bring concept to life

In historic Bloomfield, N.J., down the street from the train station where commuters stream in and out of Manhattan, is a new brewery that opened right before Halloween, 2023. Varitage Brew Works, located at 58 Washington Street, is the passion project of co-owners Mark Costa and Neil Levine, who are longtime friends, neighbors, and local residents. The 1,500-sq.-ft. nano brewery is part of the fabric of a revitalized downtown area, offering 40 seats, and ample standing room in an airy space with 22-ft. ceilings and gleaming stainless fixtures. Beer aficionados enjoy craft beers like the Washington Street Style Cheesecake, a raspberry cheesecake-inspired stout, or the Locks and Planes IPA, which pays homage to the 23 locks and 23 planes of the Morris Canal, which runs through Bloomfield.

Mark Costa and Neil Levine are the co-founders of Varitage Brew Works. Photo: Varitage Brew Works
The distinctive “Hopdrangea” design was emblazoned on 8″x8″ tiles by Imagine Tile Inc.

The name Varitage combines “variety” and “heritage” – a shoutout to both the local history of Bloomfield, and tribute to Costa’s Portuguese roots. Visitors to the brewery are greeted with the company’s “Hopdrangea” logo gracing the black and white 8″x8″ ceramic tiles that line the tap walls and front of the bar. And that’s where our tile story begins!

Costa said this Hopdrangea design combines a stylized depiction of a hop, adorned with hydrangea petals, a plant that “blankets the landscape” in the Azores from where Costa’s family immigrated. The style is inspired by traditional Portuguese Azulejos tile design. 

“It was only fitting to include this distinctive design concept within our branding to pay homage to a piece of heritage that defines us,” said Costa, who is Founder/CEO/Head Brewer.

Levine, CO-Founder/CFO/COO said that after an initial search on Google, Costa reached out to Imagine Tile, Inc., and established a great working relationship with the company. 

Making and setting the tiles

Imagine Tile is located just a few exits up the Garden State Parkway from Bloomfield in Ridgewood, N.J. The 25-year-old company sources ceramic and large-format porcelain substrates from Brazil, Spain and Portugal and uses a patented process to hand-apply decoration of minerals and ores to the substrate in its Stafford, Texas, facility. Tiles are then re-fired from 1,100 to 1,300 degrees, vitrifying the tile, sealing the design and creating a durability level that stands up to a heavy commercial rating for floors or walls (tested by TCNA) – resistant to scratching, chemicals, UV light, able to withstand freeze-thaw conditions, with a Class A, zero flame spread rating. Because each part of the design is separated by colors and screened onto the tile with a special transfer medium that dissolves in firing, stunning colors and exquisite detail can be achieved. In addition, raised relief for surface interest can be added.

Once the tile substrate is decorated, the tiles are high-fired again to vitrify the ceramic and glaze and fix both the design and the performance properties Imagine Tile products are known for.

The artistic concept, development and production of the Hopdrangea vitrified ceramic tiles had a quick turnaround, and within six weeks Varitage had 150 square feet of tile in their facility ready to be installed. Levine explained that landlords changed hands for this brand new commercial space, and delays ensued, but when tiles were ready for installation, Costa and Levine chose Davlat Bolibekov of Maestro Works, LLC out of Phillipsburg, N.J. ([email protected]) to do the job. Levine said their GC – who is also a neighbor of the owners – recommended Bolibekov for some residential work in their homes, and after seeing the quality of his installation, they chose him to set the tiles in their new venture. 

Bolibekov said working with the tiles was easy – he had to cut into the tiles for the taps, but they didn’t shatter or break. Though most of his work is commercial now – such as Manhattan train stations, the United Nations, and Rockefeller Center – over 20 years of building his business he’s installed a lot of handmade tile in “expensive houses” and “you’ve got to use a little imagination to make it work.” 

But the Imagine Tile products were “a piece of cake” to set. He used CUSTOM’s OmniGrip Premium Lightweight Tile Adhesive to install the tiles and black grout from MAPEI. To make sure the vitrified white tile stayed clean, he wiped the grout off the surface three times and then assiduously removed the haze, leaving a crisp, gleaming white tile emblazoned with the company branding and decorative black edging. His care to detail and precise installation made for a seamless installation and a distinctive decorative pattern. 

“Although we work with clients all over the world, it was especially rewarding to work with another local business,” said Lynda Portelli, Vice President of Sales + Marketing at Imagine Tile. “We are honored to have our custom tile featured in their brewery taproom – and what a great play on words for their signature logo, Hopdrangea!”

+ posts

Editorial Director and Senior Writer for TileLetter and TileLetter ARTISAN

Lesley Goddin has been writing and journaling since her first diary at age 11. Her journey has taken her through a career in publishing and publicity, landing her the editor position of TileLetter and its special publications in 2006. Her goal is to educate, inspire, recognize and encourage those in the tile industry -- especially the tile and stone contractor.

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

- Advertisment -