During the Revolutionary War, a fierce battle is fought atop Iron Hill, outside of Newark, Delaware. Soldiers fight for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – unaware that in more than 200 years, a group of Delaware locals will exercise that right to pursue happiness by opening a brewery right down the road. They will name it Iron Hill in honor of what the soldiers fought for.
Kevin Finn, one of those Delaware locals, receives a homebrewing kit from his wife for his birthday in 1990. What starts as a hobby soon becomes a passion. His friend, Mark Edelson, takes an interest and begins brewing with him. Soon, they decide to enter their beers in competitions. Surprising even themselves, they start bringing home some impressive awards.
During 1994 the duo begins to wonder, “Could we do this for a living?” Lucky for them, a friend introduces them to Kevin Davies, an experienced restaurant professional. It only takes a few conversations to decide that together they could open an innovative brewery and restaurant concept. It’s time to take the brewing out of Kevin’s basement!
On November 14th, 1996, Iron Hill officially pours its first beer and serves its first dish at 147 E Main St in Newark, Delaware. A year later in September, the team decides to swing for the fences. At less than a year old, Iron Hill enters the American Brewer’s Association’s Great American Beer Festival (GABF), the industry’s premiere competition. Newcomers to the scene, they take the crowd and critics by surprise when their Lodestone Lager wins a gold medal. It is the first of many.
The trio decides to open a second location in West Chester, PA in 19978. They determined, quite boldly, that it, and every future location, would have an on-site brewery. They wanted to guarantee the same quality, freshness, and innovation that had made their first location so successful. Opening day arrives, and the annual West Chester Restaurant Festival is going on right outside. The crowd is so large that they must close for the next few days just to regain inventory and catch their breath.
The team decides to up the ante and take their beers to an even bigger stage than the Great American Beer Festival. In May of 2010 they attend the World Beer Cup, the largest global beer judging event. Already excited about the impressive number of medals they have won over the duration of the conference, they are overwhelmed to hear their name called as the world’s “Best Brewpub”. They go on to win again in 2014 and finish as a runner-up in 2016 only by a tie-breaker.
Just in time for their official 20-year celebration in 2016, the team brings back a medal from the Great American Beer Festival. It is, serendipitously, their 20th consecutive year bringing home a GABF award. With years’ worth of awards close by, they celebrate the monumental anniversary with a company-wide toast on November 14th.
With an aggressive goal of having 20 restaurant and brewery locations open by the year 2020, 2018 featured four new locations added to the Iron Hill family. The month of May included grand openings in Greenville, South Carolina, IHB’s first expansion outside of the traditional mid-Atlantic region and an additional Delaware spot located in the popular Rehoboth Beach area. Later in the year, new locations were unveiled in Center City Philadelphia and Hershey, PA to engage craft beer and scratch food fans throughout the state of Pennsylvania.
Amidst construction disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic, Iron Hill continues to push forward with two location openings by the end 2020: one in Atlanta, GA, and the second in Exton, PA, which will open as Iron Hill Brewery TapHouse, the first of its kind offering a polished casual dining experience with innovative menu items that pair with IHB’s award-winning beer in a more laid-back environment than the traditional brewery & restaurant setting. Additionally, with the new, large scale production brewery at the Exton location, Iron Hill entered the off-premise beer market, making it even easier for fans to enjoy Iron Hill’s locally brewed beer with availability at retail markets in Delaware and, soon, Southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey.
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant is a privately owned company that produces distinctive, full-flavored handcrafted beers, accompanied by inspired yet informal New American cuisine in a comfortable, casual atmosphere. The goal has always been to produce food and beer that is fresh and inspired, consistently crafted and presented by a knowledgeable and courteous service staff.