Deep Ellum Brewing Co. in Dallas is expanding beyond its namesake neighborhood into Cowtown. The brewery is planning to open a new taproom in Fort Worth's Linwood area by spring 2018.
Founder John Reardon says Fort Worth will be something of a test market for a smaller Deep Ellum Brewing taproom concept, which will include a 5- to 7-barrel brewing system, kitchen and bar.
"It's an interesting model," Reardon says. "I'm kind of taking on this new stuff on to see, what is the risk/reward? I want to see if this one has legs and see where it can go."
The new space, which is about 5,200 square feet, will put a bigger emphasis on food, Reardon says. In the coming weeks, his staff is planning to roll out a new menu to the taproom in Deep Ellum as well as start serving on Sundays.
Because the Fort Worth taproom will have its own brewing system, drinkers can expect many one-off recipes and beers unique to the location, Reardon says.
For those in tune with the local beer scene, the announcement may come as a surprise. Amid controversy over the so-called taproom bill passed during this summer's legislative session, Reardon suggested the company would discontinue any plans to open future locations in the state. But he tells GuideLive he hopes to challenge the state's authority on forcing breweries of a certain size to contract with a distributor to sell beer in their taprooms. Deep Ellum Brewing Co., one of the area's fastest-growing breweries, has partnered with an investment firm that plans to offer capital to other operations down the line. That could potentially put Deep Ellum Brewing over the state's 225,000-barrel limit.
"I want to challenge the state," says Reardon. "I don't think their rules are enforceable, number one. I don't think they're constitutional, number two. But until I get over that cap, I can't challenge them."
Reardon says his plans for a larger brew house somewhere in Texas were put on hold because of the new legislation, though he's not ruling out the possibility of opening more small taprooms in North Texas in the future.
Deep Ellum Brewing Co. will be located at 611 University Dr. in Fort Worth. The brewery is expected to take over the space in January 2018 and open by May.