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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

After 9 years, Mad Fox closes.

Mad Oak Bill

There's sad news from YFGF's former bailiwick. Mad Fox Brewing Company, a brewpub in Falls Church, Virginia —a suburb of Washington, D.C.— is closing its doors and spigots later this month, after a nine-year run.
Friends of Mad Fox Brewing Company
July 9, 2019

Friends, Patrons, and Supporters,

It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I inform you of the closure of Mad Fox Brewing Company. Our last day of business will be Sunday, July 21st.

The decision to close has been an extremely difficult one to make. We have witnessed restaurant competition in the 2.2 square mile Falls Church City become fierce since our opening in 2010 with multiple businesses opening in the last year alone. As much as we tried to compete, there is an overwhelming number of choices for the local population. Sales have been on a slow decline over the last several years and, unfortunately, staying open is no longer sustainable.

On the brewing side of our business, we continue to see more breweries opening in Virginia with two new Taprooms setting up shop within a mile of Mad Fox in the last year. When we opened in 2010, there were 40 breweries in Virginia. Now there are close to 250. The Brewpub business model is a tough one to maintain compared to a Brewery Taproom with little overhead, lower rents, and outsourced food trucks. Our draw from the surrounding areas has dwindled in what has become an extremely competitive craft beer market, which has resulted in this final decision.

We attempted to work with our Bank and our Landlord for more favorable terms and while both were willing, we ultimately could not come to an agreement that would allow Mad Fox to be break even or better.

We plan a closure date of Sunday, July 21st; however, we plan to continue with our 9-year Anniversary Party on Saturday, 13 July to honor you, our investors, our staff, and the Falls Church Community. Words cannot express how proud I am of the Mad Fox legacy and the opportunity to be a member of such a wonderful community, if even for a short while. We opened the first brewpub in the City of Falls Church and have won numerous medals at the Great American Beer Festival as well as the Virginia Beer Cup. We have celebrated christenings, birthdays, weddings, retirements and many holiday gatherings. You, our guests, along with our spectacular Mad Fox team have enabled us to build tremendous notoriety over 9 years in business. I thank you for allowing Mad Fox to be a part of your lives. Thank you for your years of support and I hope to see you at the Pub in the coming weeks.

Sincerely,
Bill Madden
CEO and Executive Brewer, Mad Fox Brewing Company

Mad Fox awning

Mad Fox has never been known for "notoriety." To the contrary, it has achieved renown for its good beer, often, award-winning —Kölsch, Orange Whip IPA, Mason's Mild, Wee Heavy, to name only four. I —and many more— thank CEO/executive brewer Bill Madden​ for all of those beers. And for his magnificent real ales.

There are lessons to be learned, unintended consequences, as alcohol laws evolve. Mr. Madden's succinct letter points that out. Closing a business can be a visceral pang; one can read 'between the lines' of his letter.

That being said, Mr. Madden is a successful doyen of the area's 'craft' beer scene, both with Mad Fox and for a quarter-century before that. Beyond his own personal successes, he has mentored area brewers, he has organized beer festivals for brewers (beginning back when that concept was foreign), he has long advocated (and practiced) cask ale cellarmanship, and, last, but not least, he was co-instrumental in bringing good beer to Washington baseball.

His influence is beyond doubt. If past is prologue, good things await him (and beer lovers of the Washington, D.C.-area).

Real ale quintessence (02)
Unfiltered cask-conditioned pale ale, served via handpump

-----more-----
  • * Notoriety: "the state of being famous or well known for some bad quality or deed." Not so, Mad Fox!
  • Mad Fox's announcement (on Facebook): here.
  • Local brewers share their thoughts on Bill Madden and his brewery's closure. Via DCbeer.
  • Mad Fox & Mom: a personal remembrance: here.
  • YFGF visited Mad Fox on its pre-opening day in July 2009: here.
  • This post originally appeared on Facebook: here.

  • For more from YFGF:

1 comment:

  1. Man, I am going to miss this place. I was one of the first customers (thanks to you telling me they were open!) and had many a work lunch there. Their beer was always solid and consistent, and there's a lot to be said for those qualities.

    ReplyDelete

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