A new brewery comes to Dallas with a trailblazing mode of doing business. Called the Manhattan Project, the brewery will debut its quartet of beers on November 11.
The founders — Karl Sanford, Misty Sanford, and Jeremy Brodt — are three beer aficionados who started like many do: as passionate hobbyists. Karl serves as CEO. Jeremy is the brewer. Misty does marketing and sales. Their road to launch has been a tale of savvy adaptation to the ever-changing circumstances of the craft beer world.
They formed the Manhattan Project in 2013, and began looking for space. But they switched gears when they realized what a beast it was.
"We were looking at spaces in the Cedars and West Dallas, but as it progressed, we felt like it was getting too big, and we were going to be giving too much to the brewery, when we wanted to be making beer," Misty says.
Instead, they reached out to Bitter Sisters, the Addison brewery, and created an "alternating proprietorship," in which they lease the brewery from Bitter Sisters for a couple of days every week. It means they don't have to invest in tanks and all the other infrastructure, and they can get to the beer part more quickly.
"We explored this kind of arrangement a few years ago, but at that time, all the breweries were still so new that they were anxious about capacity, not to mention just the inconvenience of having other people in their space," Misty says. "Bitter Sisters has been amazing. [Founder] Matt Ehinger's mission was to help another brewery get started."
The only potential downfall is that it limits the supply of beer that the Manhattan Project can brew, but Misty says they can work around that.
"It does give our beer some initial 'exclusivity,'" she says. "Our original vision was to try and get our beer in every bar in the world. But now we'll work with about a dozen key accounts that we'll service real well, where our customers will know they can consistently get our beer at certain establishments."
Their lineup comprises four beers: Belgian brown, a coconut porter, a West Coast American IPA, and an American wheat. Their launch will go down with events on November 11 at three of Dallas' beeriest of establishments: Common Table, Eno's Tavern, and Luck Kitchen in Trinity Groves.
Down the road, if demand ends up overwhelming supply, there are ways, such as contract brewing — a not-uncommon practice where a brewer brings his recipe to another, and has the beer made to order. This is already done by some breweries such as Grapevine Craft Brewery.
"It took Dallas a while to catch up to the craft beer world, but we're getting up to speed," Misty says.