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Monday, March 05, 2007

New [brew?] pub to open in Silver Spring

It's always good to hear of the expansion of local beer. But I'm not certain whether the story below is indicating that the Grubers will be brewing their beer on-site or will be continuing to have it contract-brewed by Fordham Brewing Company.

If they were to brew on-site and continue to have their beer contract-brewed elsewhere, that would raise interesting alcohol-law legalities. Such are why we have no Anheuser-Busch owned pubs in the US, for example.

The tap handles for Hook and Ladder's beers are cute and distinctive: small red ceramic fire hydrants.

Finding a Hook in Silver Spring
Brothers to Open Restaurant and Pub in Old Firehouse

Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 5, 2007; Page D01

Where coils of fire hoses once rested, pints of ale will soon be poured.

The historic Fire Station No. 1 on Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring, which has been eyed by more than a dozen developers and hundreds of potential buyers since it went up for sale in July, will become a restaurant and brew pub with a firehouse theme. A firefighter and part owner of Hook & Ladder Brewing has a deal pending to purchase the property from the Silver Spring Volunteer Fire Department.

The deal, expected to close in May, will end months of speculation about what would become of the building, which was built in 1914 and doubled as a National Guard armory until 1927.

The property's soon-to-be owner Jeremy Gruber, a beer enthusiast and retiring captain with Montgomery County Fire and Rescue, said he plans to preserve the red brick, two-story building. Gruber is an investor in Hook & Ladder, which was founded in 1999 by Bethesda natives Rich and Matt Fleischer, who were also attracted to the station's place in Silver Spring's past.

"It's not every day that a fire station becomes available for sale in the town where your brewing company is based," said Matt Fleischer, 31, president and chief operating officer.

Rich Fleischer, 35, started Hook & Ladder while living in California, blending his love of beer and his years as a volunteer firefighter with the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad. Matt soon signed on to help run the business. Even though their home-brewed ale was a hit at parties, it never earned a profit.

So the brothers moved back to Maryland. Rich worked to recoup costs and Matt went to business school. They relaunched the company in June 2005 in Silver Spring.

They plan on partnering with a restaurant operator who will sell their beer, keeping the station's original decor and adding memorabilia such as old helmets and coats.
Click for the full story.

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