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Iron Hill Brewery continues Southern expansion

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Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant will open this location in Columbia, S.C., in 2021. | PHOTO COURTESY OF IRON HILL

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant announced March 5 that it has recently signed a lease for its 21st restaurant, which is also its fourth in the South.

Iron Hill has leased a 7,500-square-foot space in the BullStreet District of downtown Columbia, S.C., which it intends to open in 2021, according to company officials. The restaurant group founded in Newark in 1996 opened a location in Greenville, S.C., in 2018 and plans to open two locations in Atlanta this year as part of its “20 in 20” initiative.

The 181-acre BullStreet District in Columbia, the capital of South Carolina located near the center of the state, is amid a 20-year, mixed-use redevelopment plan. The brewery and restaurant, located one mile from the University of South Carolina campus and the South Carolina State House, will be within walking distance of multiple historic neighborhoods and large employers.

The Columbia, S.C., brewpub is the fourth Southern location for the Iron Hill brand. | PHOTO COURTESY OF IRON HILL

Like its previous locations, the Columbia location will feature an on-site brewing facility and seating for about 250 people, including an outdoor patio. The new brewery and restaurant is planned to employ more than 100.

Kevin Finn, chairman of the board and director of development at Iron Hill, said in a statement that the BullStreet District was a “natural fit for the Iron Hill team.”

“Once we came to South Carolina and learned firsthand about the warmth, charm, and hospitality of its residents, we knew we wanted to bring more of the great food, quality service and delicious craft beer we’ve brought our fans in the Northeast since 1996,” Finn said. “BullStreet is a thriving, newly-developed area, and given its residential, office, retail and entertainment appeal, in addition to its proximity to multiple universities and colleges, we knew this neighborhood was a great choice for us.”

Iron Hill will once again partner with Bray Architecture, of Boulder, Colo., to design the location and McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture, of South Carolina, for its base architecture.

Iron Hill has developed a strong track record and award-winning reputation since its Delaware roots, earning 49 American Brewer’s Association’s Great American Beer Festival awards as well as 32 World Beer Cup awards, including best brewpub in 2010 and 2014.

It is notably restricted from growing further in Delaware due to a state regulation that limits brewpubs to three locations under the same ownership. Because Iron Hill’s business model always has an on-site brewing facility, it has already reached its limit with its Wilmington, Newark and Rehoboth Beach locations.

It was reportedly eyeing a production brewery in the state at the former Don Pablo’s restaurant near the Christiana Mall when it learned of the regulatory issue that would prevent it from having a brewpub there. Iron Hill later moved the project to Exton, Pa., to avoid the issue, taking its roughly 100 jobs with it.

Rep. Bryan Shupe (R-Milford), a former mayor of Milford where Mispillion River Brewing is located, introduced a bill seeking to amend the regulations to support the growth of local breweries in Delaware. Introduced in May 2019, House Bill 158 has yet to receive a committee hearing.

By Jacob Owens

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