It's been several months since North Texas beer drinkers have heard from Armadillo Ale Works. The microbrewery, founded by Denton duo Bobby Mullins and Yianni Arestis, was supposed to open in a warehouse south of the city's center this spring. The news was a big deal considering Armadillo had produced award-winning beer under Deep Ellum Brewing Co.'s roof in Dallas and worked tirelessly to secure funding to move operations back to its hometown.
Things, however, didn't go according to plan. But there's good news, folks: It looks like this story has a happy ending after all.
Armadillo Ale Works recently signed a lease to take over a space on South Bell Avenue in Denton, formerly home to a pop-up music venue called The Hive. Preliminary plans for the building's 18,000 square feet include a sizable brew house with a 15-barrel brewing system and a 5,000-square foot taproom.
The founders are aiming to be operational and have beer back on shelves by summer 2016.
Arestis told GuideLive that he and his partner looked at The Hive as a potential brewery several years ago, but that downtown Denton was only recently rezoned to allow craft alcohol production.
The brewery is located roughly 1.5 miles via the Denton Kay Trail from the city's only other microbrewery, Audacity Brew House, and right across the tracks from the A-train stop, which Artesis hopes will attract drinkers in the surrounding towns and cities.
"It's our dream location," Arestis said. "Ideally what we envision is someone coming up from Dallas on the A-train, doing a brewery tour at noon and spending the rest of the afternoon in Denton." (As we discovered earlier this summer, there are plenty of fun things to do in the booming college town.)
A 'roller-coaster' of a year
The lease is a big step in the right direction for Armadillo Ale Works after quite a tumultuous year. Since the business had a Denton location in the works, it ceased production at Deep Ellum's facility. And after the original location fell through -- Arestis declined to comment on what happened -- Armadillo had nowhere to make beer and eventually sold out of its inventory.
Still, the brewery showed up to Untapped Fort Worth beer and music fest in May, where representatives handed out samples of its hand-crafted soda and told fans that it had no intention of falling of the craft beer map.
"It's definitely been like a roller-coaster, but as corny as it sounds, I really wouldn't have done it any other way because we've learned so much," Arestis said. "A lot of times it would have been easy to to throw up our hands and say 'enough,' but it's going to be what we always dreamed about."
More details about the new taproom will become available closer to the open date, but Arestis said drinkers can expect to try something new since Mullins, who is head brewer, has been working on new recipes.