Iron Hill Brewery, which opened its first brewpub in 1996, is considering a sizable expansion that would grow the company’s footprint to 50 locations.
“We’re going to get far past 20 [locations] by 2020, but that’s our first milestone,” Iron Hill CEO Kim Boerema shared during a recent interview for the Brewbound Podcast.
“We have ambitions to look all the way from Atlanta to Boston,” he added, noting that the company would identify locations located primarily on the East Coast.
If and when it does reach 50 locations across more than just four states – it currently operates 16 locations throughout Delaware, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and New Jersey – the company will be in the “logistics business,” according to Boerema.
But even when Iron Hill expanded with a second location, the business changed considerably, founder Mark Edelson said.
“It’s the only time in the history of your business where, overnight, you will double your business,” he said.
“You all of a sudden have twice as much work to do, and you’re not ever prepared for it. So it’s always the biggest tipping point,” he added.
That’s a relevant lesson for today’s taproom-focused brewery owners, many of whom are considering business models built around multiple locations.
And when companies do make the jump from a single outpost, into a second or third location, Edelson suggests spending extra time training staff so everything runs smoothly from Day One.
In episode 36 of the Brewbound Podcast, Edelson and Boerema discuss the opportunities and challenges of running a brewpub chain at a time when brewery taprooms have become so popular, and explain how they see the taproom-focused business model evolving.
Listen to episode 36 of the Brewbound Podcast above, as well as on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify, and Soundcloud. New episodes of the Brewbound Podcast, which is co-hosted by Chris Furnari and Justin Kendall, are published every Thursday.
Episode 37, featuring Keith Villa, the creator of Blue Moon and the founder of cannabis-infused beer company Ceria Beverages, will be released on Thursday, May 23.
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0:00 – 23:10: Furnari and Justin Kendall introduce episode 36 and discuss the latest news
23:30 – 51:40: Furnari interviews Mark Edelson and Kim Boerema
51:40 – 1:15:51: Furnari and Kendall share their takeaways from the interview and rundown segments