Ghost Hawk Brewing Company is a collaborative effort between two Clifton natives - Tom Rachelski and Steve Bauer - along with a silent partner. Born from a passion for delicious beer, and escaping the mundane routines of everyday life, this project took nearly two years to complete. With the addition of veteran brewmaster Chris Sheehan, this venture came to life. We opened our doors to the public on Saturday, April 20th in 2019.
A Clifton native, Founder and President Tom Rachelski is a dedicated husband and father of three. He attended the Citadel, and has an MBA in Finance from Rutgers University. Tom is a US Army veteran who served for 12 months in Kuwait. He currently works in corporate wealth management, and enjoys home brewing.
Also a Clifton native, Founder and Vice President Steve Bauer has a business degree from Montclair State University, and has been doing branding and design for nearly 15 years through his own freelance consulting firm, GRZ Creative. He got his start with graphic design during the early 2000s, in the local North Jersey skateboarding and live music scenes, and founded local streetwear clothing brand GRZLY in 2014. He has also been a long-time bartender and DJ in a number of local Clifton-area bars.
In his 27-year career as a professional brewer Chris Sheehan has won 9 Great American Beer Festival medals along with other awards like the 2004 FX Matt Memorial Cup for best brewery in New York State.
He started out as an enthusiastic home-brewer in 1986 with a passion for beers beyond the standard American lagers dominating the market at the time. He moved to California in 1989 in pursuit of a career in the then-nascent craft brewing industry. There he worked his way into the trade at Triple Rock Brewery in Berkeley, now the oldest brewpub in the U.S.
After gaining certification in sanitation and microbiology at the University of California at Davis, he became the head brewer at 20 Tank Brewery in San Francisco. Chris worked there for 6 years and after winning awards he moved back East to brew beer in New York City. He became head brewer at Chelsea Brewing Company in Manhattan, winning more awards, enhancing the business, and establishing successful brands.
After 12 years there he felt he needed a new challenge so he worked to establish the Port 44 Brewpub in Newark, NJ. After that he worked at J.J. Bitting in Woodbridge, NJ, and then went on to launch Gun Hill Brewing Company in Bronx, NY. There he established their core brands and won a gold medal just months after the business opened.
He later worked at Defiant Brewing Company in Pearl River, NY. Ghost Hawk Brewing Company is Chris’ fourth start-up and 11th brewery in all. His wealth of experience and knowledge will be key in the endeavor to brew delicious beers of quality and character for the beer enthusiasts of Northern New Jersey.