Last week the Brewers Association reported that during the first half of 2013, Americans purchased some 7.3 million barrels of craft beer, up from 6.4 million over the first half of 2012. Overall dollar sales and volume were up 15 and 13 percent, respectively. All of this despite decreased overall beer sales that were down 2 percent over the same time period.
In other, less math-y words: Craft beer is catching on a bit.
Southwest of Fort Worth in Granbury, the small brewery Revolver is doing its part to contribute to the numbers. Maybe you've spotted their double-guns-up salute tap, from which hopefully you tasted their American wheat ale, Blood and Honey. Finished with blood orange zest and wild Texas honey, it is a stand-out among North Texas beers.
Unlike Dallas-based beers, one unique difference for Revolver's beer is the water source. Even though they're only an hour from Dallas, they sit over the Trinity Aquifer. Co-founder Rhett Keisler says that's one of the main reasons they picked that particular parcel of land.
"We have our own water well," says Keisler. "The fresh water aquifer is 440 feet below the surface. I know the realtor thought we were crazy when we were buying the property. She's going on about all the amenities of the house and all we kept asking is, 'When do we get to see the water well?'"
Keisler has always been a fan of his own beer, which was crafted by head brewer Grant Wood (formerly of Sam Adams, Pearl and Lone Star), but is surprised by his customers' responses.
"We saw North Texans were increasingly demanding full flavored beer," says Keisler. "We were optimistic, but the level of enthusiasm around our beer has been amazing. That makes what we do even more rewarding."
They've recently wrangled their bottling machine and, beginning this week, six-packs of Blood and Honey will be on the shelves at Central Market, first in Fort Worth, then the rest of the metroplex.
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Asked if he's experienced any problems with the bottling or if it's as easy as Lavern and Shirley make it look, Keisler says so far they've been lucky. "The bottler is a fickle beast, but so far she's been kind. We just keep the Laverne and Shirley theme song on loop to appease her."
Good thing, because being in bottles is a big step for brewers.
"Retail opens up a whole new market for us," says Keisler.
They're kicking off their feat with a gathering on the patio at Central Market in Fort Worth on Thursday. Central Market will provide some vittles made with the beers, including Blood and Honey mustard wings and High Brass fish and chips. Four beers will be on tap, including Revolver Bock, Mother's Little Fracker (a limited edition full-bodied stout) and the blonde ale, High Brass. Only Blood and Honey is bottled right now. By the end of the week, the six packs will be available in Central Markets across north Texas, then eventually Kroger, Spec's and Whole Foods.