Fort Worth scores a craft beer coup with the addition of a new brewery: Called Wild Acre Brewing Company, it'll open in the late fall at 1734 E. El Paso St., a hallowed location a mile from downtown.
"The easiest way to describe that location is that it's the former Ranch Style Beans complex southeast of downtown, between East Lancaster and East Vickery," says founder John Pritchett, a beer industry veteran who was previously a manager for distributor Ben E. Keith.
The proximity to downtown was just one of many positives, Pritchett says.
"It's in an industrial area, but it had a couple of features we really liked," he says. "We are going to have a tap room and be open to the public on Saturdays. But we wanted space to be able to grow.
"That's the part of the business I know — sales, marketing and distribution. I wanted to build a brewery, and the space and that area offered that. It's hard to find good space with ceiling height in urban areas."
Pritchett's tenure at Ben E. Keith allowed him to witness the craft beer revolution in Texas firsthand.
"I was at Ben E. Keith when the company integrated all these new craft brands into our system," he says. "I was fortunate to be able to travel and see a number of different craft breweries throughout the country firsthand.
"Working in that segment of the business was new and exciting, and I began talking myself into the idea that I could do this."
The brewer is Mike Kraft. He is the original master brewer for the Two Rows chain who has also worked for Lagunitas in Chicago and as a consultant for Nine Band in Allen.
"We have a pilot brewing test system, and he's working his magic with that as we finalize what we want to brew," Pritchett says. "We want to try and be innovative and nimble and potentially brew things we believe would serve different occasions. We'll experiment with higher alcohol and barrel aging but also put out stuff that's more sessionable."
With their brewery equipment scheduled to arrive in the fall, they're in the early stages of remodeling their space. They'll do a tap room for tastings and tours, and then further down the road, offer draft and beer in cans.
"Texas is still fledgling compared to what's going on in places like California and Colorado," he says. "New breweries only help grow the beer culture. I'm excited and thrilled to be a part of it."