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.
Now that is a shame. We’ve been there a few times, it seems odd that the owners would be pulling this at that location – I mean, it isn’t the easiest place to get to if you’re a tourist and, as you pointed out, isn’t exactly a bustling part of town these days. Here’s hoping, they seem like good people who make great beer and good food.
This is a damn shame. Mike and Anne opened their doors within days of us getting the keys to our first home, here in Fairfax, and I remember the distinct pride of knowing that the place we were settling down in had an honest-to-goodness public house. They’re valued members of the community, a huge source of revenue for the town, a draw for weekenders eager to hit the trails in our backyard, and I’m also happy to call them friends. The Fair-Anselm landlords should be ashamed, considering Fairfax’s already abysmal retail space vacancy rate. Go show your support, folks! Thanks for covering this story.
I don’t know this market but based on these comments it doesn’t sound like all hope is lost here. The arbitration process should involve analyzing comparable rents and sales. If the market is that bad it should be easy to make the brewer’s case.
Best of luck to them. Visited a year or so back and was extremely impressed. Not just by the fantastic beers but also by Mike’s overwhelmingly outgoing and passionate persona. Turned out he told us he was a transplanted NY Mets fan! Go figure!
Best of luck to him and his family.