For ten years a heinous crime has been repeatedly committed in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Apparently, regulators in that state have decided that Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant, which operates 10 locations, 6 in PA have been illegally rewarding members of their Mug Club.
The two issues that seem to be at the heart of the regulators contention are the rewards points that Mug Club members get every time they buy beer (but not merchandise, or gift cards), and the extra free 8oz that Mug Club members get.
Although the issues were purely with PA regulators, Iron Hill will revamp their Mug Club to comply with the new guidance at ALL Iron Hill locations. All members of the Mug Club received this email message a copy of which was also placed on their website:
“We are currently revising the club to meet the regulator’s demands. During the transition from one club to another, the Mug Club will continue to function but with some important changes.
Mug Club Transition Changes
New Memberships cannot be purchased during the transition
All current memberships due for renewal during the transition will be extended until the new club is active
Members will be gifted 500 new points immediately
Members can no longer receive points for the purchase of alcohol
Members continue to earn points on all other purchases (excluding tax, tip and gift cards)
Members will continue to drink from the Mug Club mug, but must pay the same price as a non-member (an additional 50 cents)
Unchanged Mug Club Benefits
Exclusive use of handmade Mug Club mugs
Earn a $25 credit for each 300 points accrued
Redeem credits to pay for any food and beverage purchases, including alcohol
Invitations to exclusive, members-only Mug Club events
Email communication from your head brewer
Track points and member profile online
We are currently looking at a variety of options and we hope to have a new customer rewards program in place this fall.
All unused points will roll over to the new club.
Please discuss any questions or concerns with a manager or click on Inquiries/Comments button above. You may also click on the Mug Club Questions button above for further information.”
You can find the full PLBC findings here.
The quick and the dirty at this time seems to be that Iron Hill Mug Club members are just going to have to pony up an extra ¢50 for their beer. I’m sure most of them can afford it, but it’s a shame that regulators felt the need to crack down on a promotion that’s been in existence for 10 years.
I’ve sent Emails to both Stewart’s Brewpub and Two Stones Pub to see if they have any concerns of Iron Hill’s fall out with PA regulators drifting across state lines into Delaware (outside of the two Iron Hill locations in DE) although both beer spots operate their Mug Clubs differently from Iron Hill. Two Stones Pub quickly replied, stating simply that they would adhere to any regulation changes if any should occur.