Craft beer fans are reluctant to praise mergers and acquisitions of independent breweries, but there are examples, at least locally, that these partnerships do pay off.
After MillerCoors purchased a majority stake in Granbury's Revolver Brewing in 2016, the company announced a new satellite brewery to open at the high-profile Texas Live! near the new Texas Rangers Stadium. This week, Deep Ellum Brewing Co. is also lauding its partnership with Chicago-based Storied Craft Breweries, which purchased 56 percent of the company last December.
According to trade publication Brewbound, Deep Ellum Brewing's sales and shipments are up significantly in the first quarter. Founder John Reardon tells GuideLive year-over-year data puts the brewery on track for 50 percent growth in 2017.
Here are the highlights:
- Sales of Deep Ellum Blonde are up 79 percent
- Sales of Deep Ellum IPA are up 47 percent
- Sales of packaged beer are up 61 percent
- Sales of draft offerings are up 30 percent
In all, the brewery is on course to produce 45,000 barrels of beer in 2017, compared to 33,000 in 2016, according to Brewbound.
"As a collective force, we are kicking ass," Reardon told the pub.
As part of the deal with Storied Craft Breweries, the Dallas brewery received access to $8 million to grow its business, which Reardon tells GuideLive he's using to expand his facility and brewing capacity. He's keeping much of the money reserved, he says, in anticipation of "the next step" -- though it's unclear what that may be.
"As you know, we're a little landlocked. We're in Deep Ellum, we're squeezing in the best we can," Reardon says, noting the brewery is "literally busting at the seams."
"At some point," he adds, "there's just no more room on the boat."
Charles Vallhonrat, executive director of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, called Deep Ellum Brewing's growth statistics "very impressive," and said they bode well for the craft beer industry in the Lone Star State.
"This is very encouraging," Vallhonrat said. "Texas, we're still well below our saturation point in number of breweries per capita, so this tells you there's a lot of room for growth in the market. Deep Ellum seems to be doing a good job of taking advantage of that interest."
Deep Ellum Brewing's future plans include new brews. In early May, Deep Ellum Brewing is introducing Deep Ellum Lager, which will be available year-round in cans and on draft, and Deep Summer, an ale spiced with chamomile, hibiscus and lemon peel. Both will be available in a new variety 12-pack, along with Deep Ellum Blonde and Neato Bandito.
The brewery also plans to prominently feature its barrel program. Expect to find Numb Comfort, a barley wine aged in bourbon barrels, and Freak Flag, a sour brown ale, out later this year.
Deep Ellum Brewing Co. is also opening a distillery this spring; more details to come on that.