Yards Founder Tom Kehoe on New Brewery Location
Last week, Yards Brewing Co. presented plans to the Northern Liberties Neighbors Association for an 85,000 square foot brewery at 5th and Spring Garden. The brewery complex would house the manufacturing, warehouse and distribution for Yards Brewing as well as a larger brewpub with kitchen.
We had a chance to catch up with Yards Founder, President and Brewmaster, Tom Kehoe and get some more details. Kehoe looked at more than fifteen locations before settling on the 5th and Spring Garden location. Other locations included the old F. A. Poth brewery building in Brewerytown to spots along the Delaware River in South Philadelphia as well as within the Navy Yard.
Kehoe stressed that it was “hugely important” to stay near his workforce. A staff that often bikes to work (Yards is the Clean Air Council’s 2016 Clean Air Employer of the Year) and has a tradition of sharing a shift beer with the person they worked next to for the last eight hours. A dynamic that would change in a more car-focused or suburban environment.
The new location doesn’t just give Yards the opportunity to brew more beer but also embed itself further into Philadelphia’s consciousness. Kehoe clearly sees Yards as Philadelphia’s beer. And with a tasting room packed every weekend and a new TV campaign showing up during Phillies games, why not?
As for the former Destination Maternity location, the zoning is just the first step. The parcel is zoned for mixed use but doesn’t currently permit manufacturing. And then there’s the lease. But if it does come to pass, Yards will be able to double production to 100,000 barrels per year. It will also give the brewery a lot more space for things like a canning line, larger tasting room and an event space. Right now, if Yards wants to host a private event or wedding, the brewery must close to the public. An event space would allow the brewery to keep its tasting room open more often. The new brewery also has plans for storing more than 100 barrels for aging.
As Kehoe says, this is all very preliminary and we won’t be tasting beer from the new brewery until 2018 at the earliest.