The Dallas beer scene gets a taste of Austin with an innovative new partnership between two small but well-regarded craft breweries. Austin-based Infamous Brewing Co., maker of noted craft beer Hijack Cream Ale, has formed a brewing arrangement with Grapevine Craft Brewery that allows Infamous to make and sell more beer.
The two breweries will co-share space at Grapevine's new plant at 906 Jean St., where Infamous brewers will team up with Grapevine brewers a few day each month.
"It's a fairly new kind of arrangement in Texas called an alternating proprietorship," says Infamous owner Joshua Horowitz. "It means that the days on which our products are being brewed, Grapevine becomes Infamous Brewing's second facility. It's a neat way to help us expand."
Infamous was founded in Austin a little over two years ago, and has already carved out a name for its inventive, flavorful beers that go beyond the usual dull quartet of blonde, red, IPA and porter.
In addition to the Hijack Cream Ale, Infamous' lineup includes Bugsy's Amber; Olde Ale, based on an 18th-century recipe from Thomas Jefferson; Sweep The Leg Peanut Butter Stout, an American stout with the addition of peanut butter that comes in at a drinkable 8 percent ABV; and a seasonal pumpkin-pecan porter.
The only reason their beers haven't found a wider audience is because they've reached their maximum capacity of about 2,300 barrels a year — "not a tremendous amount of beer," Horowitz says.
"We'd been looking for other breweries to partner with, but everyone in the craft beer industry is maxed out," he says. "The timing with Grapevine Craft Brewing was perfect. Founder Gary Humble built a system that was going to have a larger capacity, and was willing to allow us to use some of that capacity he wasn't using. We're not in a position to build a second facility, so it allows us to expand without expanding."
Horowitz anticipates that it will allow them to double what they currently make.
"We have a lot of pent-up demand for the Hijack and our Infamous IPA in cans," he says. "And the Bugsy's, we've been wanting to get that packaged and released, but we haven't been able to devote the space."
He and head brewer Matt Bitsche also look forward to working side-by-side with the Grapevine crew. "All of their staff has a wealth of knowledge that might help us turn out even better products," he says.
They're still working on various permits from the federal and state government, but anticipate that licensing will be approved in next few weeks. They've signed on with crafty distributor Favorite Brands, and for local beer drinkers, that's good news. "You'll see our beers start to pop up at specialty bottle shops around Dallas and Fort Worth within the next few weeks," Horowitz says.