Accommodation and Food Services
Company Name: Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant
Location: Wilmington, Delaware
In the early 1990s, Kevin Finn and his soccer buddy Mark Edelson would spend their Sunday afternoons watching football and fermenting home brew kits. Finn recalls that their first attempt, ‘Dog Blaster’ was “a really dark, nasty beer” and eventually was consumed by his dog Shredder. They continued to create different brew combinations, and in 1993 they won their first of many awards.
The two friends had personal advertising and engineering experience, but to start their own business they needed someone who had previously worked in the restaurant industry. They teamed up with Kevin Davis, who had twenty-four years of experience in the restaurant business, and decided to open their own brewery. In 1996, the trio received a $400,000 SBA 7(a) loan, which they combined with their personal savings to found their company.
On November 14, 1996, C&D Brewing, doing business as Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant, opened in Newark, Delaware. The company grew quickly in size, and earnings. In 1998, Iron Hill utilized the SBA 504 loan program, to obtain $308,000 to open their second location in West Chester, Pennsylvania. By 2000, there were three Iron Hill Restaurant and Brewery sites, employing 300 people and earning $12 million in sales.
The growth has continued, and today Iron Hill operates eight restaurants in three states and employees more than 750 people. Revenues continue to grow again and last year sales topped a record $35 million. Finn indicates that the goal is to “continue to open about one new location a year until we reach twenty restaurants. We want to keep a footprint within 100 miles of Wilmington.”