Iron Springs Pub & Brewery, Marin’s newest craft brewer, may also be its latest casualty. Their lease is up this August and despite trying to negotiate in good faith to exercise the first of two five-year extensions since last September, their landlords won’t budge on a 60% rent increase. On Monday, the landlords — two wealthy local brothers—rejected a final offer. Now the case is set to go to binding arbitration, but barring a miracle it doesn’t look good for Iron Springs remaining in their present location.
And that’s a damn shame. Not only do they make some terrific beers, but in less than four years Iron Springs Brewing has become the eighth highest revenue generator in the town of Fairfax, and number three in terms of giving back to the community financially. Maybe I don’t understand business very well, but we’re in a recession right now, the real estate market is in freefall, our economy is tanking. That doesn’t strike me as the right time to gouge someone with a 60% rent increase. I’m told that there have been other ways in which the landlords have not dealt fairly, withholding information or not being completely truthful about aspects of the property, and while I can’t corroborate those they seem entirely consistent with this type of short-sightedness. The Plaza where Iron Springs is located once boasted full occupancy, including a large Albertson’s grocery store across the street, all owned by the same family. The grocery store has been empty two years and other tenants are likewise now gone with several more on their last legs. It would appear greed is destroying an entire town.
If you live in northern California—or are planning a visit to the Bay Area—make sure you stop by Iron Springs and show your support this spring and early summer, before it’s too late.
The famed Iron Springs AmBREWlance, which may need saving itself one day soon.