Yards Brewing is close to taking a giant step across the Delaware, with a new brewpub in the Camden County borough of Merchantville, N.J.
The brewery, Philly’s largest, is in talks with the borough to open the pub in the old PNC Bank building (below) at 9 S. Centre St. The borough purchased the 80-year-old building earlier this year through a $1.2 million bond issue, and holds a liquor license for the property.
“We felt that we’ve got a nice, older building with a lot of character,” Merchantville Mayor Frank North told me this morning. “A brewpub would be the right thing for that building, and the right thing for the town… We have a lot of young families and a lot of young professionals coming to Merchantville. This would be a place for them to have dinner and relax and help vitalize the downtown.”
For Yards, the brewpub would be an effective means of spreading its brand to New Jersey - a big priority as it expands production. The Northern Liberties brewery is currently working to open a pub in its production facility on Delaware Avenue.
No word on how long this project will take to come together. Talks over financing and lease negotiations are underway. The big plus is that the borough holds the necessary liquor license, which is always a huge impediment for would-be restaurant and tavern developers.
For Jersey beer lovers, the development would be one more step in the region’s slow but positive evolution as a decent beer destination. Merchantville is just 10 minutes down the road from the soon-to-open Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant in Maple Shade. And the borough itself is already home to the Blue Monkey (2 S. Centre St.), which pours 24 taps (including Founders, Stoudt’s, Sixpoint, Weihenstephan, Maudite, Flying Fish, Chimay, Corsendonk…)