Delaware Bars Weigh in on Mug Club Issue.

As me and a ton of others posted last week, Pennsylvennia regulators have asked Iron Hill Brewery to amend its mug club practices to conform with state regulations.  And even though PA is so far the only state asking for changes, Iron Hill has decided to realign its mug club in all locations, including those in Delaware.

I sent emails to two prominent establishments in the Delaware craft beer scene to ask for their input on this change, keeping in mind that this is at the moment, squarely a PA issue and not a Delaware one.

Michael Stiglitz from Two Stones Pub was the first to weight in with the following

“Certainly if DE goes the route of PA we will adhere to any regulation changes.”

I recently received an email from Al Stewart from Stewart’s Brewing who echoed

“I am unaware of any PA or DE pressure to change mug club requirements but I will be meeting with the Iron Hill folks later this month.”

I am one to believe that our local establishments did their due diligence when setting up their mug clubs, so I don’t fear any involvement from Delaware regulators.  If anything I hope that this issue with Iron Hill does nothing more than to affirm that our Delaware watering holes have their ducks in a row.  Because I can’t say anything better than what Al said himself,

“We originally started the mug club to reward the local, frequent diner/drinker for their loyal support. It is a fun group of folks that feel that they are a great part of the atmosphere of Stewarts and I would hate to see the government take a stand for no good reason.”

Thanks to both Michael and Al for taking the time to respond to my email and weighing in on this topic.

Delaware Beer News : DE Iron Hill Locations to Change Mug Club System Due to PA Regulators’ Requests

PA regulators apparently had nothing better to do then pick on Iron Hill’s Mug Club practices.

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.