A beer activist’s dream come true – a new brewpub opening within stumbling distance of home.
That’s right, Silver Spring-based Hook and Ladder Brewing is planning to open a brewpub in the historic Fire Station No. 1 on Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring, MD.
If all goes as planned, it may be another success story of a locally-owned brewpub helping to drive local economic development while maintaining a unique local character.
The firehouse building was built in 1914 and doubled as a National Guard armory until 1927. But when it closed down and moved into new digs across the street, locals feared the building would be razed to make room for condos or retail space for more national chains like the ones that litter the redeveloped main drag in downtown Silver Spring. Luckily, according to an article in the Washington Post, the property’s soon-to-be owner and investor in the brewery Jeremy Gruber, is a beer enthusiast and retiring captain with Montgomery County Fire and Rescue, said he plans to preserve the red brick, two-story building.
The brewing company was founded in 1999 by Bethesda natives and brothers Rich and Matt Fleischer, the latter of whom was a volunteer fire fighter with the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad. Maintaining the fire fighting theme with the new building is a very happy circumstance for the brewers. Matt Fleischer, 31, president and chief operating officer, was quoted in the Post article as saying, “It’s not every day that a fire station becomes available for sale in the town where your brewing company is based. We want to continue the tradition of firefighters in the area.”
The article continued:
Jerry A. McCoy, president of the Silver Spring Historical Society, said he hopes an independently owned restaurant in the firehouse will help revitalize Georgia Avenue between Wayne Avenue and the District line, which has been neglected since new development in downtown Silver Spring, near the intersection of Colesville Road.
“You can go to that section of Georgia Avenue and it looks like one big party. Then you walk south and it’s like no-man’s land,” said McCoy, who said he is worried that high-rise condominiums will replace the two-story historic storefronts.
“Now they’re primed for an incredible comeback,” he said. “A restaurant in that firehouse would really help that end of the street.”
Based on the strong growth of the craft brewing movement overall in the past few years, the Fleischer brothers are jumping on a fast moving train. Let’s hope their new business really catches on fire. (Ahem.)