In the age where using locally-sourced ingredients holds serious prestige, one Texas brewery is buying land to create a proprietary ecosystem.
Austin's Jester King Brewery announced Wednesday it purchased 58 acres surrounding its current location in the hill country on the fringe of the state's capital, where owners plan to farm crops, plant a vineyard, raise livestock and, eventually, open a restaurant.
According to a media release, the move came in response to Austin's continued economic growth. It was the fastest growing city in the U.S. from July 2013 to July 2014, according to census data, and there don't seem to be signs of stopping, says Forbes.
Brewers feared the land near Jester King's remote location might be gobbled up by development companies and turned into residential subdivisions.
"We felt we had to act," said Jester King founder Jeffrey Stuffings. "We now have the confidence of knowing that the natural beauty of the land around us, for as far as the eye can see and then some, will be preserved for the long run."
Stuffings said in a YouTube video about the purchase that creating a working farm falls in line with the brewery's mission.
"Our goal was to make authentic farmhouse ales, beers that are very much tied to the land around us, that have a sense of place and uniqueness to the environment," Stuffings said.
Jester King accomplishes this in brewing by introducing wild yeast, which allows microorganisms unique to the area to infiltrate each beer for fermentation.
This next phase of Jester King will enable the brewery to grow raw ingredients for brewing, such as herbs, spices, fruits, vegetables and grains, as well as create other beverages such as wine, mead, cider and even spirits. Brewers will plant their first crops this coming spring.
Long term plans include roasting coffee, harvesting honey, making cheeses, curing meats and baking from-scratch breads to be served at a farm-to-table restaurant, which Stuffings called the "centerpiece" of the operation; the thing that "really displays the bounty of the land." Stuffings said by email there's no definitive timeline for the restaurant at this time.
"We're excited to begin farming very soon, but aren't in a rush to create new brick and mortar establishments," he said.
Jester King is repeatedly lauded as one of the best breweries in Texas for its unique brewing style and stellar small-batch beers. The purchase does not include Stanley's Farmhouse Pizza, the property's current restaurant. It will continue operations as an independent business.