Wilmington-based Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant now has an equity partner.
A&M Capital Opportunities, Greenwich, CT., made an investment in the regional group of brewpubs. Financial details were not disclosed.
Iron Hill was founded about two decades ago in the college town of Newark, DE. The company went on to open another brew pub on the booming Wilmington Riverfront.
Iron Hill, now the seventh largest brewpub group in the United States, and plans to expand beyond the Delaware Valley.
The company has grown with a formula that includes upscale, restaurant offerings. It also brews its own beer at each of its restaurant-brewpub. Over the years, Iron Hill added brewpubs in urban, small town and urban settings, gaining broad operational knowledge.
Iron Hill has steadily expanded to 11 brewpubs in Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
According to a release, Iron Hill wanted a capital partner to accelerate growth to bring Iron Hill to more communities throughout the East Coast.
The Iron Hill name is based 0n a Newark landmark south of the city that saw mining activity in the 1700s and 1800s. The hill was also believed to have served as lookout point for Washington’s troops when the British marched from Chesapeake Bay in an effort to quash the American Revolution.
“We focus on creating partnerships with strong entrepreneurial leaders like the team from Iron Hill to help businesses achieve their fullest potential.” stated Drew Baird, managing director and co-Founder of AMCO. “The Iron Hill brand is uniquely positioned to appeal to a very broad customer base and we plan to expand so even more communities have the opportunity to experience all that Iron Hill has to offer.”
“Iron Hill has always focused on building for the long-term, and the AMCO partnership will allow us to invest significantly in strengthening our business as we accelerate the opening of company owned stores across the East Coast,” stated Mark Edelson, co-founder and head of brewing Operations. He went on to say “we knew AMCO was the right partner to help execute our growth strategy because of their unique combination of partnering with founders to build businesses and their affiliation with Alvarez & Marsal, the largest operational consulting firm in the world. This provides access to a deep bench of industry and functional experts that we can leverage to support our continued expansion.”
The investment in Iron Hill is part of a trend by craft brewers to seek equity investors as competition increases.
Some craft brewers have sold out to multinational giants like Anhueser Busch InBev. The giant company has maintained the separate identities of brewers like Goose Island.
While sales of monster brands like Budweiser and Coors are flat or on the decline, craft beer sales have been increasing at double-digit rates.
Craft beer still accounts for only a small percentage of total beer sales, but has been able to fetch higher prices. Iron Hill has confined its beer sales to brewpubs.
Earlier this week, Chester County, PA- based Victory Brewing announced a partnership with a company that also owns a smaller brewery in New York state. The breweries will maintain separate operations, but will join forces in other areas of the business. The combined breweries will move into the ranks of the 15 largest craft breweries.
Last year, Milton, DE-based Dogfish Head Craft Brewery agreed to sell a minority stake in the company to an investment firm.
Iron Hill was founded in 1996 by home brewers Kevin Finn and Mark Edelson, and restaurateur Kevin Davies.
“Since its founding 20 years ago, Iron Hill has always provided the highest quality food and beer in an environment that‘s part of the community fabric” says Finn.
He went on to say “we are truly humbled by the reception and loyalty from our patrons over the last two decades.”
Iron Hill won 44 medals at the Great American Beer Festival over the last 19 years and was rated Zagat’s most popular Philadelphia restaurants, and being named “World Champion Brewpub” at the World Beer Cup three times.
In addition to providing capital to facilitate growth, Drew Baird and Paul Lattanzio, the founding partners of AMCO, will join Iron Hill’s Board of Directors and share their experience building consumer brands. Senior
Geraty Investments, a Minneapolis-based restaurant focused boutique investment bank, acted as Iron Hill’s advisor, and Minor & Brown, PC of Denver, CO served as legal counsel. Sidley Austin LLP served as legal counsel to AMCO.
For more information and a list of locations, visit: (www.ironhillbrewery.com)