Delaware bill could have kept Iron Hill’s new location in state

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Exterior rendering for Iron Hill’s Brewery & Taphouse in Exton, PA

After Iron Hill Brewery announced that it’s relocating its latest location out of state due to a law limiting how many a company operate, one Delaware State Rep. has taken steps to remove the restrictions and fight for free market principles.

Delaware State Representative Bryan Shupe is the primary sponsor of House Bill 158, legislation that allows brew-pubs to brew, bottle, and sell beer at other brew-pubs by removing the current restriction limiting such actions to no more than 3 licensed brew-pubs in the state.

Iron Hill was looking to open their new location in Christiana, close to the mall, at the site of the former Don Pablos; however, according to State Rep. Shupe, they scrapped those plans as they’d already reached their limit of three brew pubs under state law.

“It would’ve been a great site for them, great for the community, and would’ve probably created around a hundred jobs in that area,” Rep. Shupe said. “The only reason, and this is straight from the mouth of the owner of Iron Hill, the only reason they did not open there was because they were already at their limit of three brew pubs.”

Earlier this year, State Rep. Shupe introduced legislation to remove that restriction. Unfortunately, some state lawmakers stalled attempts from the lawmaker to move forward and the bill remains in committee.

Iron Hill had no choice but to look outside of Delaware, according to Rep. Shupe, who said this will be the case in the future unless his legislation is passed next session to remove the unnecessary restrictions.

“These restrictions fly in the face of free market principles,” Rep. Shupe stressed. “That we would tell any type of legal business that it can only operate in three locations. Can we imagine if we told a local bakery that after three locations you’re done, or any local restaurant for that matter, but for brew pubs it’s a regulation that’s been in place.”

There has been pressure on lawmakers from alcohol distributors to keep the regulations in place, a reality that Rep. Shupe said is a shame.

“It’s a shame,” said Rep. Shupe. “It really is something that we need to look at and say no matter where the pressures are coming from, we need to put this forth and make sure that our Delaware businesses are able to compete here in Delaware and create jobs here in Delaware and not in other places.”

The site, that could have been located in Christiana but will now be located in Exton, Pennsylvania, exceeds 18,000 sq ft. and would have been the largest of all the company’s breweries in Delaware.