Ironclad Brewing celebrates its grand opening

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From left, Ed Wolverton of Wilmington Downtown, Inc., Ironclad Brewing owners Michelle and Ted Coughlin, Wilmington mayor Bill Saffo and mayor pro tem Margaret Haynes celebrate the official opening of Ironclad Friday. Photo by Hilary Snow.
From left, Ed Wolverton of Wilmington Downtown, Inc., Ironclad Brewing owners Michelle and Ted Coughlin, Wilmington mayor Bill Saffo and mayor pro tem Margaret Haynes celebrate the official opening of Ironclad Friday. Photo by Hilary Snow.

If you want to quickly get acclimated to a new community, Ted Coughlin said, just start a small business.

Coughlin and his wife, Michelle, owners of Ironclad Brewing, recently celebrated their own rapid introduction to Wilmington earlier this year via their downtown alehouse.

Ironclad Brewing, which opened in February, made its presence in the local craft beer scene official Friday during a ribbon-cutting ceremony with city leaders.

Since coming to Wilmington via northern Virginia in 2014 to renovate the 90-year-old building at 115 N. Second St., Coughlin said he has quickly gotten to know area vendors, business owners and customers.

And, he added, he has been pleasantly surprised by the continued downtown boom.

“In just the last couple years, downtown…what a change, right?” he noted.

It was a Taste of Wrightsville Beach event–and a meeting with local brewers–that first prompted Coughlin to share his love of craft beer with Wilmington.

The downtown building that would become the industrial style, exposed-brick watering hole has a long history in downtown Wilmington, as a former candy and general store, car dealership and funeral home.

Working with the building’s owner, Don Lashley, Coughlin helped restore and revitalize the site, which had been vacant for more than two decades.

“You can really see the love and care that was put into this building,” Ed Wolverton, president and CEO of Wilmington Downtown, Inc. (WDI), said during Friday’s event.

Earlier this year, WDI presented Ironclad with Benjamin Halterman Award for Leadership in Preservation during the annual Historic Preservation Foundation awards ceremony.

Ironclad’s official grand opening kicked off the business’ involvement in the recently formed brewers guild to help market Wilmington as a destination for beer drinkers across the globe. The guild held its first fundraising event at Ironclad on Saturday.

Hilary Snow is a reporter at Port City Daily. Reach her at hilary.s@portcitydaily.com.