Because we know our readership has lots of boozehounds and (damn right) cares about their beer, we wanted to offer an update to yesterday’s post about the team behind Yards Brewery going their seperate ways. We recently got a press release from Tom Kehoe, the founder of Yards that gives a lot more additional information. Besides, the release boils down to the fact that everything’s gonna be alright for Philly microbreweries.
The goods after the jump.
Tom Kehoe, founder of Yards Brewing Company, one of the region’s premier craft breweries, will move his brewing operations to a new location this Fall. Kehoe, who is parting ways with partners Bill and Nancy Barton, maintains that Yards’ ever-popular and award-winning beers will remain the same as he moves production to a new facility.
“We’re currently considering a couple of different locations for the new brewery,” says Kehoe, who founded Yards Brewing Company in 1994. “Yards lovers can rest assured that our beer will maintain the same quality and taste that they’ve come to love over the years.”
Kehoe began brewing beer when he was a student at Western Maryland University, in Westminster, MD, in the ’80s. His knack for creating delicious British-style ales led to an apprenticeship at a microbrewery in nearby Linthicum. Within a few years he was ready to launch his own enterprise. With a meager $20,000, much of which he borrowed from family and friends, Kehoe launched Yards Brewing Company in the city’s Manayunk neighborhood. Dubbed the “little brewery that could,” for its shoestring budget and modest 900 square foot space, Yards fast became the pride of the city with its extraordinary flagship product Extra Special Ale, which debuted at the Philadelphia Craft Brewers Festival in 1995. Word spread quickly about the fantastic locally made brew, and tavern owners throughout the city were literally lining up outside the brewery to get their hands on the beer.
When Kehoe began brewing operations at Yards in 1995, it was the city’s only brewery and the first to open since Schmidt’s demise in 1987. In his first years in business Kehoe is credited with re-introducing the concept of cask conditioned ales along with the hand-drawn beer engine to the region.
With rave reviews pouring in from local media and an overwhelming demand for their extraordinary beer, Kehoe and his staff quickly outgrew their cozy confines and began work on a bigger brewery in nearby Roxborough. The new facility was capable of producing 3,500 barrels of beer per year. With its increased output, Yards was also able to expand its product line to include popular beers Philadelphia Pale Ale, IPA, a Belgian abbey-style Saison, and the seasonal Love Stout, which is brewed with whole oysters. In addition to these highly regarded handcrafted beers, Kehoe was commissioned by Philadelphia’s City Tavern to brew the private label “Ales of the Revolution,” a porter and ale based on original recipes developed for America’s founding fathers George Washington and Thomas Jefferson during the turbulent revolutionary era. Due to their popularity, he partnered with the historic landmark in 2003 to brew and bottle the ales for retail sale everywhere.
The response to Yards beers was overwhelming and within a few short years Yards once again had outgrown its home. In 2002 Kehoe moved the company to a 35,000 square foot former brewery in the city’s Kensington neighborhood that had been shuttered since 1939.
Recognized as a driving force behind the region’s thriving craft brewing movement, Kehoe and Yards have received numerous awards and accolades for their world class beers. On two separate occasions Philadelphia Magazine named Yards “Best Local Beer” in its annual Best of Philly issue (1998 and 2001). Other awards include two bronze medals from Chicago’s Real Ale Festival, and the distinction of “One of The Top Five Pale Ales in the United States,” according to the New York Times. Yards’ Saison was featured in Gourmet magazine.