Rob Kasper of the Baltimore Sun has confirmed what had only been rumored: the Wharf Rat, the longest-running brewpub in Baltimore has been sold. The good news is that brewing will continue, and that Steve Jones will remain as the brewer.
Wharf Rat Brewer Steve Jones (l); Paul Pendyck of UK Brewing Supplies (r)
The Wharf Rat, the restaurant and brewery at 206 W. Pratt St. that has served as a fountainhead of English ales in Baltimore, has new owners. Donald Kelly, who has operated bars in Connecticut and Justin Dvorkin, a brewer at Fordham Brewing, bought the business from Bill Oliver on Tuesday. The price was not disclosed.
In a brief telephone interview Wednesday, Kelly said he and his partner do not anticipate making substantial changes to the restaurant and brewing operation. "We like the concept; we bought it for the brewery," said Kelly. <...>
Steve Jones, the current Wharf Rat brewer, will continue making the establishment's beers, called Oliver Ales, Kelly said. <...>
Oliver will retain ownership of the Fells Point pub also named the Wharf Rat.
Oliver and his wife Carole took over the iron-front building on Pratt Street, then called P.J. Cricketts restaurant, in 1992.
One of the first things they did was increase the number of beers on tap. "It just had Coors, Sam Adams and Miller Lite," Oliver recalled in an interview. In January 1993, they added a brewery and began brewing ales.
Wharf Rat on Pratt Street has new owners
Kasper on Tap
October 21, 2008
Justin Dvorkin (l), new co-owner of Wharf Rat Brewpub; general manager Justin Damadio (r)
UPDATE 2009.01.26: The Baltimore Sun reports:
The Wharf Rat (206 W. Pratt St.) will close this Thursday for renovations, according to new owner Justin Dvorkin.
Dvorkin and general manager Justin Damadio took over the downtown brewpub last fall. They plan to reopen the place with a new name and slightly different look March 10.