Friday, January 25, 2013

Catching up on Iron Hill-Voorhees

Architect rendering of IH Voorhees facade
If you've been keeping score on Iron Hill brewpub, then you've noticed their second location in New Jersey – their 10th overall – hasn't open in Voorhees yet.

Last summer's announced date of winter 2013 was, of course, a projection, subject to how quickly the business could speed through any needed approvals, get the necessary renovations done and the doors open. 

It's a process. And, alas, things don't always follow the forecast.

But despite the delay, there is a bright spot: The folks at Iron Hill have started renovation work – the underground plumbing – at the site in the Voorhees Town Center (what used to be Echelon Mall) and now forecast to open Monday, July 15.

"We started last week. We're under way. We'd like to have been open by now …" says Mark Edelson, who founded the brewery-restaurant with Kevin Finn and Kevin Davies. 

Once the plumbing work is done and concrete gets poured, construction will shift to putting up walls. The brewhouse installation is expected to happen in May. The system is already built. The company moved forward with their equipment order from Canadian manufacturer Specific Mechanical Systems (Victoria, British Columbia) to avert any delays on that part of the project.

"That's the one thing we didn't hold off on because it's usually late. It's done. It's sitting in storage. It's brand new: It was constructed, made, and it's sitting in a warehouse right now," Mark says.

Iron Hill is a longtime customer of Specific Mechanical. Even the occasions in which Iron Hill has acquired used brewhouses (Maple Shade's equipment came from the shuttered Independence Brew Pub in Philadelphia), they've been ones made by Specific Mechanical.

"We want our brewers all working on the same equipment," Mark says. "We were on a tear for a while, when used equipment was available we were buying it. With the proliferation of breweries right now, the used market has dried up essentially. The price went up, so used equipment costs the same as new."

This month, Iron Hill marked the first anniversary of its ninth location, Chestnut Hill in Philadelphia. That project, from drawing table to opening went comparatively smooth, Mark says, given the location and the fact that the space pretty much needed a complete makeover to convert it from a former clothing store to a restaurant-brewery.

"It was built for light retail, and we're not light retail, and with all the infrastructure for power and gas and sewer that a restaurant takes, it wasn't there." he says.

If you're a craft beer fan, take that as a good sign for Voorhees.

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