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October 17, 2007 - Yards Leases Delaware Avenue Property, Will Move Brewery There In January
Yards Brewing Company has signed a 10-year lease for 28,000 square feet of space in a building at 901 Delaware Avenue, a block off of Spring Garden St., and will move its brewery there by the end of the year, company founder and president Tom Kehoe told The Beer Yard late this afternoon.

"We just signed the papers,"a relieved Kehoe said in a telephone call. "I've been working on this deal for over a month. Now we have a lot of work to do and that starts right away. We will clean the place up and move the brewhouse in next week and begin building platforms and doing the plumbing work to turn it into a brewery."

The new location has been empty for the past few years after having been a skateboarding facility in its previous incarnation. It has an interior loading dock which is accessible from a side street, Kehoe said, simplifying the process of loading and unloading trucks in that busy section of the riverfront.

Kehoe and former partners Bill and Nancy Barton split up this past summer. He has continued to operate Yards out of their Kensington plant under a lease which runs until the end of the year. The Bartons are in the process of creating Philadelphia Brewing Company, which will begin producing beer at the site after Kehoe and Yards leave.

Kehoe says that, as far as he is concerned, brewing positions at the new facility "belong to the Yards brewers, the guys who are producing the beer now. They've said that they want to stay with me and I've told them the jobs are theirs, but I will need a formal commitment soon."

That conflicts with what Bartons told The Beer Yard last month, that the brewing team would all be joining their new company. If that should happen, Kehoe said, "I have plenty of applications from people wanting to brew for Yards, more than I can handle, in fact."

"We'll no longer be hidden away in a dark corner of the city," Kehoe added, laughing, "but right out there on the Delaware River with great exposure to the public. We'll have a lot of architectural work to do, a lot of construction and plumbing, but I believe we will at least be in position to brew at some level by January, assuming we've gotten all the permits. I'd guess we'll be very heavy on draught when we start up, then move back into regular bottling schedules."

To the extent possible, he added, he will try to stockpile as much packaged beer as he can through the rest of 2007 to keep as strong a Yards presence in the market as possible through the changeover.--JACK CURTIN