This week, the Brewers Association released new data on the demographics of craft beer lovers, with results presented from a top down view, as well as from the perspectives of race and gender. A portion of that report is summarized here, along with additional data shared by the BA in an addendum breaking things down into defined market areas.
Beginning with the broader view, specifically the number of people in the U.S. drinking craft beer "at least several times a year," it was found that around 40% of legal drinking age adults - i.e. the 21 and up population - are occasional craft beer drinkers (68.5% male, 31.5% female). That number, sourced from a Neilsen - Harris on Demand poll, has increased slightly over the past few years, rising from a value of 35% in 2015.
If the focus is shifted to regular craft beer drinkers, though, the numbers are lower. According to Scarborough (a separate division of Nielsen), only 7.3% of adults polled in 2017 had consumed a craft beer in the last 30 days. That places roughly 17.5 million Americans into the category of what the Brewers Association calls "craft's core" consumer (68.9% male, 31.1% female).
As for how things stack up locally, supplemental data provides insight into those considered to be regular craft beer drinkers in Dallas-Fort Worth. Based on responses taken between June 2016 and November 2017, it was estimated that just over 280,000 people in D-FW had consumed a craft beer within 30 days. Of those, 68.7% were men, while 31.3% were female.
At least in terms of gender, that means the local market appears to be right in line with the national average. North Texas lags, however, when it comes to those reaching for a craft beer on a regular basis, since less than 4% of a population near 7.1 million fits that description.
Translation? There's still work to be done in getting more people on the path to drinking better beer in Dallas-Fort Worth.
Click here for more on the BA's look at the "Shifting Demographics of Craft Beer," including changes in demographics with respect to race/ethnicity.
Seeking to secure a fresh infusion of resources for increased production and distribution, Deep Ellum Brewing Co. of Dallas has joined the CANarchy Craft Brewery Collective.
Founded in 2011 by John Reardon, Deep Ellum has grown into the third largest independent craft brewery in Texas. Led by its flagship brews, Dallas Blonde and Deep Ellum IPA, the company grew 37% in 2017 while producing more than 45,000 barrels. Deep Ellum's products are currently only available in Texas, with the vast majority being consumed within 20 miles of the brewery.
“It’s been a hell of a ride for all of us at Deep Ellum and I believe this is just the beginning,” says Reardon. ”We’ve been looking for the right partner to grow the Deep Ellum brand and I believe we’ve found that with CANarchy. They’re a group of like-minded people that have not conformed to the status-quo and have hit critical mass on the path of coming together and remaining independent. We’re all in.”
CANarchy got its start in 2015, led by Oskar Blues Brewery founder, Dale Katechis. The group provides a platform from which rapidly growing craft breweries seeking high level resources can expand and compete in the increasingly competitive craft beer segment, while maintaining independence. The platform is driven by individual brewery culture, giving brewers control of their businesses and brands, while providing resources and support to scale their respective operations.
“CANarchy’s culture thrives on collaboration among craft breweries blazing their own path and doing things their own way," says Katechis. "John and the Deep Ellum crew light the fire of craft beer in Dallas-Fort Worth and they will bring that same fire to our collective."
In addition to Oskar Blues, Deep Ellum joins a roster of brands whose current membership includes Cigar City Brewing, Perrin Brewing Co., Wasatch Brewery and Squatters Craft Beers. Using Cigar City as an example of CANarchy's impact, the Florida-based brewery entered the collective in June of 2016. After immediately addressing capacity issues, CANarchy was able to help Cigar City expand distribution and increase shipments 43% from 65,000 to 92,000 barrels in 2017.
“Deep Ellum Brewing has created a strong community and now they’re facing next-level challenges that we’ve seen before," says Joey Redner, founder of Cigar City. "Within CANarchy, we can solve those problems in our own way."
As for Deep Ellum, it's currently undergoing a large expansion, including the installation of a 60-barrel brewhouse at the company’s primary facility that is expected to come online within the next few months. The brewery is operating at maximum capacity and is projecting 55,000 barrels of production in 2018. Deep Ellum is also constructing a taproom in Fort Worth that will incorporate a five-barrel system and retail space that is scheduled to open in late fall of 2018.
“During my time at the University of Colorado I specifically remember my first can of Dale’s Pale Ale, and that experience is part of the reason I’m in this business," adds Reardon. "Joining a collective of such irreverent and disruptive founders and leaders is exactly what Deep Ellum has been looking for." Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Effective as of the end of May, Whistle Post Brewing Co. of Pilot Point has ceased production and is now closed.
Owned by the group behind Western Son Distillery, the brewery opened during the summer of 2016 in a building adjacent to its sister operation. It remained a draft only business until early 2017, after which Whistle Post began distribution of Shoofly Texas Golden Ale and Rooster Shooter Texas Lager in bottles.
Those beers, along with products like Lizard Scorcher IPA, Shoofly Coconut Lime Ale and others, maintained a focus on easy-drinking, low ABV offerings, with strengths hovering just above and below 5%.
With brewing operations no longer active, Western Son will now concentrate efforts on the on the production of its vodka and gin lines, with the Whistle Post building set to be transformed into an expanded tasting room for those spirits in the near future.
Last summer, Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland was one of a handful of local breweries invited to collaborate with iconic whiskey-maker, Jack Daniel's. Barrels for the initiative were hand-delivered to the brewery, after which Lakewood set to work on the creation of two special brews.
“We experimented and came up with Jack’d Up Lemonale and Tennessee Temptress, paying homage to the Jack Daniel's cocktail favorites, Lynchburg Lemonade and Jack & Cola,” says Wim Bens, owner of Lakewood. “We wanted to create two amazing and unique beers for this project, so we took our flagship Temptress and put a new twist on it, and built Lemonale from the ground up.”
Described as a refreshing take on a southern favorite, Jack’d Up Lemonale is a kettle-soured wheat beer brewed with a mix of Citra and Lemondrop hops. The beer was aged for six months in the aforementioned barrels, then enhanced with an infusion of 120 pounds of freshly-squeezed Meyer lemons.
As for Tennessee Temptress, that beer is based off of Lakewood's popular imperial milk stout, The Temptress. Also aged for six months, this Temptress variety was refermented on over 500 pounds of sweet cherry puree. The added treatment is said to have provided a touch of sweetness, while also helping to round out the beer's edges.
Both offerings are draft only and available now in the brewery's taproom, with deliveries to select accounts scheduled to begin next week.
In addition, representatives from Jack Daniel's and Lakewood will be hosting a beer dinner at The Libertine Bar on Wednesday, June 27. The event will feature the two collaboration beers, as well as a selection of Jack Daniel’s top-shelf whiskeys.
With four breweries already in its midst and one just outside its boundary, the Near Southside area of Fort Worth easily fits the description of a craft beer destination. The district's appeal will only get greater come next year, though, with the arrival of yet another addition in the form of Funky Picnic Brewery & Café.
Stalwarts of the North Texas homebrewing scene over the last few years (having competed and won awards at Brew Riot and Martin House Brewing Co.'s Riverside Shootout), Funky Picnic is a collaborative effort between Samantha Glenn, Collin Zreet, Jenni Hanley and John Koch. The quartet was originally known as The Fort Brewing Co., but an existing trademark forced a name change before the founders could push forward with the project.
Regarding the space itself, Funky Picnic will occupy the southern end of the structure on Bryan Ave., giving them more than 4,000 square feet of usable space to work with. That allotment will be divided between production area (anchored by a seven-barrel brewhouse) and a café, with the latter featuring a full menu allowing patrons to partake in a casual meal while enjoying their beer.
As far as timelines go, permitting and construction on the site are the first items on the group's agenda. Should all go as planned, North Texans should expect to see Funky Picnic debut in the spring of 2019.
You might say there's something to be said for session beers, at least considering the fact that two local breweries brought home medals in session beer categories from the recently-completed North American Beer Awards.
Put on as part of the annual Mountain Brewers Beer Fest in Idaho Falls, Idaho, judging for the 2018 North American Beer Awards took place May 29-June 1. Entries were evaluated according to the 2018 North American Beer Awards Style Guide, with criteria based on "classic, historical and well-established styles of beer, as well as recognized industry advancements updated to reflect the marketplace."
In terms of results, a total of 297 medals were awarded in 99 different categories. North Texas winners are noted below, with a complete list of medalists to be found by clicking here.
HopFusion Ale Works
Bronze for Go Easy in the Session-Style IPA category.
Rahr & Sons Brewing Co.
Gold for Adiós Pantalones in the Session Beer category.
Bronze for Ugly Pug in the Schwarzbier (Black Beer) category.
Cheers and congratulations to HopFusion and Rahr & Sons!
Talks between the two companies were originally focused on allowing Hop & Sting to contract brew at the facility in Grapevine, but discussions eventually morphed into something more. Now, with an agreement in place, Hop & Sting will have a place to call home, while brewing in one of the area's best brewing facilities.
It's a coming home of sorts for the Hop & Sting team, which consists of Brian Burton, Jon Powell and Lane Joseph, all of whom worked at Grapevine Craft Brewery in the past.
"It has been a long road starting Hop & Sting, but we finally have a home in a great community," says Burton."I am also excited to get back into a facility that I helped commission."
“I’m especially stoked to be brewing some of the same beers that were developed in my parents barn, less than 10 miles away," adds Powell. "It feels good to be back home again."
“It’s been a very exciting process getting Hop and Sting off the ground," says Joseph. "I am thrilled to be back in the Grapevine facility doing what I love!”
Taproom staff will be maintained through the transition, and there are no plans to make significant changes to the name of the facility. It will simply be referred to as Hop and Sting at Grapevine Craft Brewery. Popular Grapevine brands will also continue to be brewed and made available alongside new and exciting Hop and Sting brands like Northeast Texas IPA, Remedio Southwest Wit and Galactic Haze Belgian White IPA.
On the question of contract brewing, Burton says that aspect of Grapevine's business will continue on a small scale. The focus there will be on up-and-coming brewing companies looking to get their brand out in the market, just like Hop & Sting was when it got started.
Hop & Sting at Grapevine Craft Brewery is located at 906 Jean St. in Grapevine. For more information on the companies, visit their websites at hopandsting.com and www.grapevineontap.com.
It's been a little over a month since White Rock Alehouse & Brewery unveiled its initial beer offerings in Dallas, and even longer since food service began at the restaurant late last year, but this past week afforded me my first opportunity to pop in and check out what one of the area's newest brewpubs has to offer.
Blake Morrison, whose resume includes stops at Cedar Creek Brewery and, more recently, Whistle Post Brewing Co., is the man behind the beer at White Rock, a place where visitors can expect to find an array of everyday beers supplemented by multiple seasonal selections.
"As of now, our mainstays at White Rock will be Urban Parakeet Pale Ale, Big Thicket Blonde Ale, Bonnie Barge Coffee Brown Ale, and IPO IPA," says Morrison. "Our IPO IPA is a rotating New England-style IPA that will have a new recipe each time."
Indeed, IPO IPA was already into its second iteration by the time of my visit, with the current incarnation sporting a pale yellow appearance with notes of citrus peel, tropical fruit and a slight finishing bitterness. It won't be the only IPA at the brewpub, however, as Morrison has plans to explore West Coast influences for the upcoming White Rock IPA.
That beer, while likely to end up as an additional year-round option, will first debut as one of White Rock's three summer seasonals. Others set to be released include Bringin' Mexi Back, a Mexican lager, and Texas G(IRL), and India red lager brewed with the 2018 Pink Boots Blend of hops. Created by the Pink Boots Society, the blend features a mix of five hop varieties supplied by YCH Hops - Palisade, Simcoe, Mosaic, Citra and Loral.
As for picking a favorite among the beers on tap now, I would probably go with Big Thicket Blonde Ale. It's got a hint of sweetness, to go along with a floral and fruity character, that's a perfect match for outdoor drinking, whether that be by the pint while kicking back on the brewpub's expansive patio, or out of a growler while lounging by White Rock Lake.
Judging by my experience, though, you can't go wrong with any of the currently available brews, especially if you're the type that enjoys straight-forward styles (with an occasional twist) that are well-balanced, flavorful and easy to drink. For that, it seems, is what White Rock is about, whether you're drinking inside or out.
Now officially in business after a grand opening event on Saturday, Railport Brewing Co. has established itself as the first known brewery to operate in the City of Waxahachie and Ellis County.
Founded by Richard Womack, Railport is set up in a 1940s-era building located near the Waxahachie Downtown Square. The structure itself sits on a tract of land occupying a little less than an acre, with the overall site plan split between the production area, an intimate taproom, and an outdoor space with games and room for a food truck.
Regarding production, Railport's brews are currently being produced in one-barrel batches on a pilot system. A larger brewhouse has already been installed, but Womack's team is taking it slow as they work their way up to bigger batch sizes.
"We're taking baby steps," explains Womack. "We don't know what we have yet, as far as what beers are going to hit, so I wanted to start with small batches while we develop our recipes based on what people want."
Another aspect of the company's measured approach is a desire to maintain consistency, according to Womack, who spent a number of years as a homebrewer before refining his skills in the Journeyman Brewer Program at Eastfield College in Dallas. Taking part in that curriculum also afforded Womack the chance to meet Will Boller, who has since taken on the role of head brewer at Railport.
"I want to brew all of our beers, especially the four core products, several times as we transition to the main system," says Womack. "We're already brewing some larger batches, but we'll drink those ourselves until we get comfortable with the process and our consistency."
Presently, the brewery's lineup consists of Honey Hush Blonde Ale, Railyard Ghost Wheat Ale, Caboose Hop SMaSH IPA and Bandit Sweet Stout. Look for a tripel to be offered as well, along with another type of IPA. And yes, to answer the inevitable question, Railport does intend to tinker with the popular hazy and milkshake varieties of the IPA style.
As for what else the future holds, the brewery will be a draft-only operation for the time being, with Womack expecting to explore packaging options in roughly 8-12 months. Bottles are his preference, but he concedes that the popularity of cans is something he'll have to consider.
Also pending is distribution to outside accounts. That means anyone looking to try the newest North Texas beers will have to "hop on the train" and head to Waxahachie, where Railport will be open on Saturdays from 2-6 p.m. to start.
The business of beer comes to the forefront in this edition of the Conspectus, with news bites on branding, packaging, production and licensing.
Braindead says yes, we can
Crowlers are a thing at Braindead Brewing in Dallas, now that the brewpub has installed a can seamer on site. Happiness Comes From Within, a New England IPA, was released in the 32-ounce can format on Monday, along with the promise of more beers to come in the future.
Flix Brewhouse now open in Little Elm In late April, Flix Brewhouse opened its latest cinema/brewery in Little Elm. On-site brewing operations will mostly follow a list of corporate recipes, but head brewer Derrick Rima will have some flexibility to create special house beers on occasion. The Little Elm theater is the first of two planned locations for North Texas, with an additional outpost in the works for Mansfield.
Tillman readies first gypsy brew
Gypsy brewer Barrett Tillman of Black Man Brewing has bottled his inaugural release, Gesho Forest Rustic Ale. Set to debut on draft at Small Brewpub on Tuesday, June 19 (Juneteenth), Tillman describes the beer as a "rustic ale with gesho leaves, cinnamon tree bark and hickory wood." Consumers can secure take-home bottles on the day of release by purchasing them in advance at iso.blackmanbrewing.com. Public sales will take place later, beginning on June 23.
Canning underway at Old Town Old Town Brewhouse of Lewisville initiated the first canning run under the company's new moniker in early May (Old Town was formerly known as Cobra Brewing Co.). Six-packs of Can't Get Enough Amber Ale began arriving at retail locations last week. No doubt the beer is best enjoyed while listening to Bad Company's self-titled debut album.
Hop & Sting shifts production to Grapevine Hop & Sting Brewing Co. is now producing beer at North Texas Brewing Co. (a.k.a. Grapevine Craft Brewery), after making the decision to move operations to secure more production time and space. In addition to helping Hop & Sting increase its market presence, the change also enables the company to serve its products in Grapevine's taproom.
Chimera re-branding as Fort Brewery & Pizza
After being sold to the principals behind Kent & Co. Wines and other Fort Worth ventures, Chimera Brewing Co. will now be known as Fort Brewery & Pizza. The re-branding puts the focus of the business primarily on pizza and beer, though salads and bar bites remain as additional food options. A launch party for the new brand will occur at the brewpub on June 6.
Pick up beer to-go at Panther Island
Looking to add the ability to sell beer to-go, Panther Island Brewing Co. has switched over to a brewpub license. Consumers can now fill growlers and/or pick up cans of Panther Island brews from its facility in Fort Worth.
Image credits (top to bottom, click to enlarge): Braindead Brewing, Flix Brewhouse, Black Man Brewing, Old Town Brewhouse, Hop & Sting Brewing Co., Fort Brewery & Pizza, Panther Island Brewing Co.
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