A flight of 2SP beers./Photo courtesy of 2SP Brewing Company.
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When Two Stones Pub announced in 2015 it was opening its own brewery, Delawareans knew the franchise was on to something big. Based in Delaware County, Pennsylvania—with Delaware locations in Wilmington, Newark, Hockessin and Middletown—Two Stones was already a mecca for patrons with a love of craft beers.
When Two Stones formed 2SP Brewing Company and brought on “medal machine” Bob Barrar, winner of 30 beer-making awards during his tenure at local fixture Iron Hill, Delaware beer drinkers held their breath in anticipation for the four months between Barrar’s announcement and the brewery’s opening.
Since then, Barrar and 2SP have produced a staggering number of craft beers: more than 130 since June 2015, a rate of between two and three per month. Of particular note are 2019’s Winter Reserve Stout, a Wawa collaboration made with Wawa Reserve Winter Blend coffee, and “The Russian,” the imperial stout that took home gold in 2016 and 2017at the Great American Beer Festival.
(From Left): Brewer Rob Barrar, and co-founders Mike Contreras and Michael Stiglitz./Photos courtesy of 2SP Brewing Company.
Mike Contreras, co-founder and director of sales and marketing, says that 2SP’s incredible output is the result of its size and business attitude. “As a small brewery, we have pretty limited distribution. We can get creative and brew random stuff. The brewers get to explore all of these new recipes and have fun and be creative,” he says. Most of their beers are limited releases and get only one batch; if it gets a good enough sales response, they’ll consider brewing a second.
Because 2SP is up against tough competition, owner and co-founder Michael Stiglitz believes they must stay nimble and creative. “It’s really hard out there because we have all these breweries. I mean, look at how many breweries have opened in Delaware since 2015. It’s just brewery, brewery, brewery. That’s one more brewery somebody can get a beer at, so they’re not coming to the next guy.” Stiglitz knows that both the customers at Two Stones’ restaurants and 2SP beer drinkers are always on the lookout for the best. Contreras agrees: “Craft beer drinkers like to drink something that’s new.”
2SP Brewing keeps the fresh brew flowing to Delaware’s Two Stones Pub locations./Photo courtesy of 2SP Brewing Company
That expectation of the best, freshest beer is what makes the Two Stones family so popular in Delaware. They have worked hard to ensure quality and build a reputation for excellence. 2SP’s ability to brew locally and at such high capacity helps expand their variety, says Stiglitz, but it also means fresher beer for patrons at Delaware’s Two Stones locations.
That quality is important, because Stiglitz sees a beer-pocalypse on the horizon, a repeat of the expanding wine market of the 1990s and early 2000s. Like a biblical flood, it’s going to wipe away any brewery that can’t keep afloat on its accomplishments. “If a local brewery opens up and their beer’s not good, they’re going to struggle to survive because there’s so much good beer out there.” But Stiglitz has already built his ark. “I really do believe as long as Two Stones keeps offering great beers, especially our own great beer, for 2SP, that yes, it’s going to continue to help us build our brand.”