A Dallas craft beer brewer has closed down an outlet in Fort Worth: Deep Ellum Funkytown Fermatorium, a brewpub opened a year ago in Fort Worth by Deep Ellum Brewing Co., has shuttered.
The owners say the closure was due in part to the coronavirus, but also to Texas' wanky alcohol laws.
"We were very excited to get up and running with our first location outside of our home in Deep Ellum," they say in a post. "Unfortunately, the last few months have presented many challenges and we have made the difficult decision to close this location."
The Fermatorium was a Deep Ellum Brewing Co. spinoff that opened in March 2019. Founder John Reardon wanted to expand, and thought Fort Worth was the most logical first step.
Compared to the Dallas original, the Fort Worth location was more food-centric, with a kitchen and a bar. The menu included pizzas and delicacies such as doughnut holes for dessert.
But their opening was fraught: It was delayed due to a federal government shutdown, initially preventing them from hiring employees or selling beer.
The reasoning behind the closing is two-fold, Reardon says.
"The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic paired in part with our lack of ability to sell beer to go due to House Bill 3287 have made it very difficult for us to make it work," he says.
HB 3287 was enacted in 2017, and requires brewers who produce more than 225,000 barrels a year to pay a distributor to deliver their beer — even if the destination is inside their own facility. Critics call it an "extortion fee" that benefits big beer companies instead of small craft beer brewers.
While the Fort Worth location may have closed, Deep Ellum Brewing is still rolling out the beer.
"We can assure you that Deep Ellum Brewing Company is not going anywhere, and you can still find our beers at retail locations throughout Texas," the brewery says. "Once we're able to reopen our Dallas taproom according to guidelines from the State of Texas, we would love to host you there as well."
"We want to thank you for your love and support over the last year as we set out to put down roots in the great community of Fort Worth."