The moment draws near for Acre Distilling & Coffee House, a combination distillery and bar opening in downtown Fort Worth, in the old Keg Steakhouse space, featuring the talents of a former brewer at Rahr & Sons.
Acre is a unique concept that will both brew and serve spirits, either retail by the bottle, or in a cocktail to be savored onsite. It'll also have a coffee house component, serving coffee and espresso drinks.
Acre comes from Tony Formby, a former partner in Rahr who left the brewery in 2013, and JB Flowers, who was a brewer at Rahr from 2007 to 2009.
Flowers says he turned to spirits after witnessing the dramatic rise in craft beer, noting on Texas Brewing that breweries are opening in the United States every day. Instead of craft beer, Acre will make spirits such as gin, vodka, rum, and whiskey.
The distillery has been in the works for more than a year. But doing spirits isn't something you can do overnight: The alcohol needs to be aged in barrels for a couple of years, and distilleries have become so hot that even procuring the rare white oak barrels is a challenge.
A change in Texas laws created the opportunity for a place like Acre, where customers can buy a cocktail or get a bottle to go. The only restriction is that it can only serve the alcohol it brews. But it will be a full bar with cocktails, enhanced by Flowers' mixology-style enhancements, including bitters, specialty liqueurs, and flavored waters, some infused with Texas flavors and herbs.
The distillery is still waiting for certification from the City of Fort Worth, but their target opening date is sometime around Thanksgiving. They'll start with bourbon, gin, vodka, and a few other special things.
"But 50 percent of what we have is public space, with seating and a showpiece bar that we inherited from the Keg," he says. "It wraps around two sides of our production area, so you're just a few feet from our distilling process.
They're providing free Wi-Fi and electric outlets with USB ports so that people can charge their phones. There'll also be snacks, pastries, and coffee from Fort Worth's Avoca.
"We'll have coffee in the morning, and then spirits and cocktails in the afternoon and evening — unless you want spirits in the morning," Flowers quips.