State liquor laws are keeping Delaware out of the running for a planned Iron Hill brewery and taproom. Iron Hill is headquartered in Wilmington.
The company issued the following statement, following an interview with company President Kim Boerema by Forbes. Boerema confirmed via an email statement that 16-restaurant Iron Hill was planning a brewery in Pennsylvania.
“Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant remains committed to an aggressive expansion plan, while not compromising on delivering our guests a high-quality experience with every visit. We have been exploring options for an expanded brewery footprint in recent years, with hopes of bringing this concept to life as part of our “20 by 2020” company mission/mantra of operating 20 locations by the conclusion of that calendar year. The larger brewery with a tap house footprint will allow for greater manufacturing efficiencies and reinforce the brand focus on delivering consistently great-tasting, award-winning beer throughout the Iron Hill system.”
“The statement continued, “We are searching for a location in the regions where we currently operate restaurants and additional details on this project are not yet finalized. However, in the State of Delaware, current laws do not permit us to expand in this manner. We have been working on moving legislation to change that, but have been so far unsuccessful.”
A bill was introduced late in the previous legislative session but did not go forward.
Iron Hill’s business model has relied on small breweries at each of its restaurants to supply for customers. A production brewery would allow the company to roll out popular offerings to multiple locations.
The issue of flexibility of the state’s liquor laws surfaced earlier this year when the General Assembly quietly passed a bill that allowed Dogfish Head to be acquired by Boston Beer Co. in a $300 million cash and stock.
Two Stones, another Delaware-based restaurant group, opted to build a production brewery in Delaware County, PA. At the time, the company noted that the chief brewer was based in Delco.
The 2SP brewery came up with a hit in a coffee brew made for convenience store giant Wawa.
Iron Hill has 16 locations, including three in Delaware. The company recently announced plans to open a location in the Buckhead section of Atlanta.