Beer notes: Iron Hill has a new CEO; Remembering a lager pioneer; Dogfish book coming on 26th anniversary

Iron Hill Wescott

Remembering lager pioneer  Christian Krauch

Christian Krauch was buried without a tombstone a century and a half ago.

To correct this historical oversight and recognize the sesquicentennial of his death, a newly-placed monument will be unveiled at the Wilmington & Brandywine Cemetery on October 23  at 11 a.m. The public is welcome to attend the ceremony.


Delaware beer historian and author John Medkeff Jr. organized the publicly funded campaign, which concluded last month. The Krauch family, Wilmington Brew Works, and two organizations to which Krauch once belonged – Washington Lodge No. 1 and the Delaware Saengerbund and Library Association – assisted with the fund-raising effort.

According to Medkeff’s book Brewing in Delaware (Arcadia Publishing), Krauch was one of America’s earliest lager brewers and one of the most influential figures in the state’s brewing history.

Krauch got his start brewing in his Philadelphia saloon after he arrived from Bavaria in 1838. Two years later, German brewer John Wagner came with what is believed to have been the first lager yeast to reach U.S. shores. By 1850, Krauch relocated his saloon and brewing business to Wilmington and introduced lager beer to the First State. He was a respected member of Wilmington’s German community and helped found the singing club that would later become the Delaware Saengerbund.

Though Krauch never realized financial success in his lifetime, he inspired the next generation of Wilmington brewers, Medkeff noted.

By 1860, his brewing operation was eclipsed by other  Wilmington brewers. At the time of his death in 1870, Krauch was practically penniless and buried in an unmarked grave.

In recent years, the Krauch name and legacy have been invoked both in Medkeff’s book and by Wilmington Brew Works’ flagship Helles lager beer, Krauch’s Creation. 

Wilmington Brew Works CEO Craig Wensell said, “We’ve been happy to assist in properly recognizing Christian Krauch. As a brewery with local roots, it’s important to look at our city’s past as much as we look to the future. We named the first lager beer we produced after Krauch because of the historic impact he had on Wilmington and Delaware brewing in general.”

Dogfish Head founders recount the off-center journey of brewery in new book.

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery announced the publication of The Dogfish Head Book: 26 Years of Off-Centered Adventures. Written by Dogfish Head founder and brewer Sam Calagione; Dogfish Head co-founder Mariah Calagione; and longtime co-worker and Dogfish INNkeeper, Andrew C. Greeley.

In a release, the book is described as a “heavily-illustrated, lovingly-told page-turner provides a detailed account of the brand’s history told through heartfelt stories from the authors, a timetable of Dogfish Head’s off-centered beverage releases, and a plethora of co-worker-told tales.”

Dogfish Head is now part of Boston Beer Co., with the Calagiones owning a piece of the much larger brewer, cider, and seltzer maker.

The sale came as Dogfish became a national brand, not the most comfortable place to be when wedged between hyperlocal breweries and worldwide behemoths like Inbev.

Even with new ownership, Dogfish Head continues to operate two restaurants in Rehoboth,  an inn in Lewes,  and a tasting room at their Milton brewery.

The book 26 Years of Off-Centered Adventures hits bookstore shelves and web stores nationwide on Tuesday, October 19.

Iron Hill Wescott

Iron Hill has new CEO

Iron Hill Brewery announced that  Chris Westcott has been named as its new  Chief Executive Officer. 

“I am honored to be joining such a celebrated, award-winning brand and look forward to partnering with the talented leadership team to continue Iron Hill’s legacy of delivering quality food and beverage, alongside unmatched service experiences,” Westcott stated.

Wescott succeeds restaurant industry veteran  Kim Boerema, who left Iron Hill last summer to serve as  President of Cafe Operations for the Hard Rock chain.

Most recently,  Westcott served as the CEO of Rosa Mexicano, a six-unit upscale Mexican restaurant group on the East Coast.

Before Rosa Mexicano, he spent over 20 years with McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood & Steaks and participated in the brand’s growth from eight to 93 units. Earlier in his career, Wescott opened and operated his own restaurants. He is a  graduate of the Culinary Institute of America

Iron Hill, which has a private equity partner,  opened four locations during the pandemic. 

In December 2020, Iron Hill opened its new Iron Hill Brewery TapHouse, a fast-casual concept in Exton, PA.

The TapHouse also houses the company’s first large-scale production brewery to produce 20,000 barrels of beer annually, about 20 times the volume at one of its restaurant breweries.

Iron Hill, named after a Newark-area landmark,  got its start in the college town and has grown to 20 locations in the Mid-Atlantic, South Carolina, and the Atlanta area. However, expansion in Delaware is limited to the three brewery restaurants allowed under state law.

Each Iron Hill location has a microbrewery and brewer.

Iron Hill is now headquartered in Exton, PA, after being based for many years in Wilmington.