When it opened for business on June 1, 1995, Marty Haugh’s Rockford Brewing Company became the first brewery to operate in Delaware since the Diamond State Brewery closed 40 years earlier. Aside from being a longtime homebrewer, Haugh had been a former mechanical contractor and designed the brewery’s piping and system controls. Rockford’s production brewery, located just outside Wilmington’s city limits on James Court, utilized a 25-barrel Criveller brewing system.
The company’s first beers included its bottled and kegged Czech-style pilsner, Golden Lager, and a Red Ale, which were distributed in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Rockford India Pale Ale was later offered. The beer labels featured an image of the iconic Wilmington water tower.
Unfortunately, Rockford Brewing was immediately forced into a market where shelf space was dominated by the largest breweries and microbreweries. Beleaguered by production and distribution issues, the brewery was forced to close in June 1998. The building was re-purposed and remains in use.