It is entirely possible that Delaware would have been out of the running as Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant prepared to build its first production brewery,
After all, the company that is getting closer to its goal of operating 20 locations by 2020. Another location might not have been available in the state, but thanks to the state’s liquor laws, Delaware never had a chance to land 100 jobs, some being full-time positions.
Iron Hill, which opened its first location in Newark, got its name from a landmark in the college town that has been tied to the state’s only Revolutionary War battle.
The company, now based in Wilmington, needs to expand its beer production.
At present, the company brews beer at each of its locations and does not have the ability to operate its own canning line. In an intensely competitive beer market, Iron Hill needs that flexibility to roll out popular brews that could be sold in its market area that includes the Delaware and Susquehanna valleys.
Exton may have been the best location for the production, but Delaware put itself out of the running through a law that limits the number of breweries owned by one company to three.Three happens to be the number of locations Iron Hill operates in Delaware.
Earlier this year, the General Assembly, with no fanfare, altered liquor laws to allow Dogfish Head to be sold to Boston Beer in a $300 million deal.
Iron Hill was not so lucky. A bill that would have allowed brewery restaurant groups to operate more than a trio of locations went nowhere, reportedly due to opposition from segments of the industry that fight anything that might hurt sales at liquor stores or affect the three-tier distribution system.
As you probably know, Delaware is one of the few states that does not allow residents to receive wine shipments.
Meanwhile, legislators during the past session, pushed through a flurry of social justice legislation that included criminal justice bills aimed at reducing barriers ex-offenders face in gaining employment.
Unfortunately, they forgot that one of the handful of industries that hires ex-offenders. Restaurants have historically hired people needing a second chance.
One has only to look to the late Matt Haley, who was given a second chance in Delaware after doing time. He went on to build the SoDel Concepts restaurant group inCoastal Sussex County prior to his death in a motorcycle accident in Asia.Another fast-growing local chain likes to hire people in recovery.
It is too late to make a pitch to Iron Hill. It is not too late to repeal stupid laws that hold back business growth in this state.
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