Full Tilt Brewing, the colorful York Road craft brewery that features games and graffiti art on the walls, will close for good in mid-March.
The brewery announced Monday night on Facebook that March 12 will be its final day in business.
“We wouldn’t recommend anyone open a taproom right before COVID-19 and crippling inflation, but we fought as hard as we possibly could because we love this company and we love you all,” the post, signed by Full Tilt co-founders Nick Fertig and Dan Baumiller, said. “We would love nothing more than to continue to serve your birthday parties, band-gigs, fundraisers, weddings, release parties, and everything in between... but all good things come to an end.”
Reached by phone on Tuesday, Fertig said he and Baumiller tried to stave off closing for as long as they could, taking out loans and working on new events to bring customers in, but that they ultimately “ran out of options.”
“Dan and I did not want it to come to this,” he said. “We tried and it’s come to an end.”
Full Tilt opened at 5604 York Road in late 2018, following six years of contract brewing at Peabody Heights Brewery in Baltimore’s Abell neighborhood. The spacious taproom offers arcade games like pinball, shuffleboard and skeeball, and a menu that ranges from the brewery’s signature Hops the Cat IPA to a lemon-and-peppermint stick-flavored sour ale and a cookies and cream stout in collaboration with High’s, the local gas station and convenience store chain.
For those who prefer something other than beer, Full Tilt also serves hard seltzers and sodas, wine and cocktails.
Fertig said the pandemic stunted the young brewery’s growth. The first year of business on York Road, in 2019, was a challenge, but he felt the momentum picking up as more people discovered Full Tilt and the brewery partnered with pop-punk rockers All Time Low on a limited-release beer, a blonde ale named Beer Maria after the band’s hit “Dear Maria, Count Me In.”
“Of course, COVID stopped all that,” he said. To keep staff employed during the pandemic, Full Tilt paid bartenders to deliver beer and later served french fries and other snacks so that the taproom could qualify as a restaurant at a time when taprooms and bars without food could not serve customers on-site in the city due to pandemic regulations. The brewery eventually expanded its food menu to include burgers, cheesesteaks, onion rings, Brussels sprouts and other fare that pairs well with beer.
Inflation was the final straw for Full Tilt, Fertig said, with the brewery’s electricity costs rising 30% to 40% and prices of grain soaring “through the roof.”
“All of our costs keep rising, but you can only charge so much for a burger or a beer,” he said. “At this point, we’re just out of money, even if we could justify hanging around a little longer.”
In their post on Facebook, Fertig and Baumiller encouraged Full Tilt fans to visit the brewery as much as possible during its final weeks of business. The brewery recently packaged some new drinks for release, including a Belgian witbier and an orange hard soda.
“We ask that you do one thing: GET TILTED... as much, and as often as you can in these next two weeks of operations,” they wrote. “Drink our beer, eat our food, play our games, listen to our music, and TIP OUR STAFF. That’s all that we ask.”