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How brewery and restaurant chain Iron Hill builds loyalty with scratch food, craft brews

CEO Chris Westcott shares how the 21-unit concept is maintaining an independent spirit and building loyalty in each community it grows into.


The craft brewery scene has boomed over the past decade, growing to nearly 10,000 in the U.S. at the end of 2022, according to data from the Brewers Association — nearly quintuple the 2,000 or so that existed in 2012, according to the same organization.

That growth has come from many independent breweries, but some have also scaled to become multiunit operations. That includes Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant, which pre-dates the vast majority of craft brewers in the U.S., having opened originally in 1996. Iron Hill now has 21 locations across five states, and it’s continuing to innovate with both its beer and foodservice menus to build loyalty in each community it grows into.

Chris Westcott, CEO for Iron Hill, joined the latest episode of Take-Away with Sam Oches to share how the brand is tapping into the potential of both its brewery and restaurant businesses and how it’s building a base of loyal customers in each community it moves into.

In this conversation, you’ll learn more about why:

  • Some of the most successful bar businesses are the ones that pair food and drink
  • To combat the negative perception around chains, companies should give each location a distinct personality
  • An executive’s hands-on experience brings credibility to innovation
  • Your menu shouldn’t just meet the low bar set by your competitors
  • Kids shouldn’t be forgotten in your loyalty efforts
  • By educating your guests on flavors and products, you can build trust and loyalty
  • Your VIP guests should be able to take the brand home with them
  • Consumers want hospitality, not service — don’t confuse the two

Contact Sam Oches at [email protected]



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