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Calling N.J. a great market, Iron Hill brewery begins expansion

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Twenty custom-made brewing tanks will be delivered Monday morning to Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant’s future location, in the Voorhees Town Center. And once the brewing process — which takes four to six weeks — is complete, Iron Hill will open the doors on the company’s 10th brewpub, and second in New Jersey.

“We’re really excited to open another restaurant in New Jersey,” said co-owner Kevin Finn. “New Jersey has been great to us.”

Finn said the Maple Shade location sells more beer than any of the others. Since New Jersey made changes last year to the laws governing microbreweries, Iron Hill will be able to expand throughout the state. The old law restricted brewpub licensees to opening a maximum of two facilities in New Jersey. Now they can own up to 10, and Finn plans to take advantage of the new regulations.

“Our goal is to double our size by the end of the decade,” he said.

Though he and his partners are looking at sites in Pennsylvania’s Bucks County and Lehigh Valley, and locations as far south as Washington, D.C., they are more focused on the Garden State, possibly locating as far north as the New Brunswick area.

“I think New Jersey is a great opportunity for us,” Finn said.

Head brewer Kevin Walter has been creating craft beers for Iron Hill for four years. He will oversee the delivery of the tanks, manufactured by Specific Mechanical Systems, in British Columbia, Canada, and the launch of the brewing process in Voorhees. Each tank holds about 300 gallons, enough to ensure that the brewpub’s 20 taps never run dry. Iron Hill has five house beers along with seasonal selections, cask-conditioned ales, monthly beer releases and a selection of bottled reserves. Iron Hill’s beers, which have won numerous awards, also are available to take home.

“I think the craft beer market is really growing a lot,” Finn said. “It went away 10 years ago, but it has bounced back pretty strong. There is always a demand for great products, just like the coffee industry grew when people accepted that there was more to it than the regular coffee in a doughnut shop.”

Iron Hill’s first brewpub opened in Newark, Del., in 1996, when homebrewers Kevin Finn and Mark Edelson teamed up with restaurant professional Kevin Davies. All three are New Jersey natives.

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