New craft brewery to open near Newark
NEWARK — It started as an inside joke between friends, but now opening a brewery in the greater Newark area is one step closer to reality.
Twisted Irons Craft Brewing Co. signed a lease Wednesday, Feb. 19, for a 48,000-square-foot warehouse at 303 Ruthar Drive. Co-founders Matt Found and Dave Markle are now turning their attention to obtaining the federal and state permits, with hopes to open in July 2020.
The partners and friends have been homebrewing for years, with Found getting into it roughly 20 years ago. Since then, Found and Markle joked about starting a brewery over the years, but decided to make it real over a game of golf in 2019.
“Let’s just say the name [for the brewery] comes from a lot of broken clubs and drivers in stories that could last for hours,” Markle said.
Twisted Irons first started with tasting parties where about 50 guests anonymously rated beers, but Found and Markle also enjoyed meeting their potential customers and explaining the brewing process.
“The key is getting involved in your community as much as we can,” Found said. “Once we’re fully in the site, we want to keep educating people, from beer styles to the entire process.”
Delaware’s craft brewery business is booming, bringing in a $388 million in annual economic impact in 2018, according to the Brewers Association. Many also start out in industrial parks, like Bellefonte Brewing Company in Wilmington, as well as the Autumn Arch Beer Project and Midnight Oil Brewing Company, both in Glasgow.
For Twisted Iron, the warehouse model felt right because of lower rent for “formidable movement in taprooms,” Markel said. The partners aren’t concerned about a tight market in Delaware — even with the cap of three taverns per licensee — since the idea is to build a great experience with great beer.
“Market saturation isn’t a bad thing to a certain point, because you’re seeing people hit up three or four taprooms and try flights and it’s a trip,” Markle said. “It’s building that experience, so they come back for a second time.”
Besides, it’s almost like moving into a new neighborhood. Once the word came out, Found said they’ve received warm wishes from local breweries.
“I doubt we’d see the same ‘good luck’ from Budweiser and Coors,” he joked.
By Katie Tabeling