Iron Duke Brewing in process of moving, expanding production

  • Iron Duke co-owner Nick Morin pours a sample of Baby Maker Irish Porter at the Ludlow brewery’s taproom. For The Recorder/David Rainville

For The Recorder
Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The story of Iron Duke Brewing goes back to the dugouts of little league baseball.

Owners Nick Morin and Mike Marcoux have known each other since childhood. As they got older, they began home-brewing beer together. What started as a pastime has grown into a full-time gig.

Iron Duke opened in 2014 at the old Ludlow Mills complex. Now, they’re planning their next move.

Morin said the taproom draws a large crowd every night it’s open. Often, he said, they’ll clear the floor of the adjoining brew-room to make room for more customers. They’d like to have bigger spaces for the taproom and brewhouse, so both can grow.

Moving will be bittersweet. The young owners put every cent they had into the brewery, designing and building it themselves. Morin said there’s a story behind everything in the building.

“We owe a lot of beer to a lot of friends and family members for helping us build this place,” he said.

Luckily, the business partners have experience in the trades. Their logo — the sole of a workboot — pays homage to their working roots. That, too, was designed by a friend.

Iron Duke was sold exclusively on-site before they started distributing. Some of its beers are still only available at the taproom. This allows them to make small batches and get instant feedback from customers. The draft line features about 12 beers at any given time, with the menu changing regularly. Most of these can be taken home in refillable 32- and 64-oz. growlers, but some micro-batch beers don’t leave the building — you’ve got to come down and try them at the brewery.

The brewery regularly bottles four beers, with occasional seasonals or one-offs also making it to package stores. Other brews are kegged for restaurants and bars.

While they’ll be moving in the future, Iron Duke isn’t going to wait to expand production. They’ll be installing new tanks and a canning line soon, allowing them to brew and package more beer. Right now, Morin said, the equipment’s output is the only thing keeping them from expanding their distribution.

Currently available throughout Hampden County and as far north as Northampton, Iron Duke is looking forward to expanding to Franklin County soon.

For Franklin County on Tap, Morin hopes to bring one of the brewery’s staples and one of its seasonals. Those will likely be Dead Nuts Rye IPA and Bad Hombres Mexican-style lager, respectively.

Iron Duke’s taproom is open Thursday through Sunday at the historic Ludlow Mills complex.

For more information, visit: www.irondukebrewing.com.