The sale of Deep Ellum Brewing to Canarchy Craft Brewing Collective, as reported by Brewbound, will mean many things for Deep Ellum founder John Reardon. Deep Ellum will become one of five independent craft breweries operating under the partnership that was founded in 2015. On one level, it allows for movement of some of Reardon’s production down to Austin, where Colorado-based Oskar Blues Brewing (a Canarchy partner) operates a satellite facility. It also gives the brewery the resources and breathing room to complete a project that has dragged, and which Reardon is relieved to complete. The fruits of that endeavor should be active in next 60 days.
“We’re in the home stretch of a major expansion that we’ve been in for over a year,” says Reardon.
The expansion encompasses all aspects of the Deep Ellum facility—from grain handling and boilers to upgraded water and CO2 supply—as it transitions from a 30-barrel to a 60-barrel brewhouse. “You’re doubling the requirements of the brewery. We’ve been doing it for the last year or so, we’ve just been doing it slowly,” he adds.
The demands of slowly building a new brewhouse while running the current brewhouse—“a feat of engineering,” says Reardon—have been a strain.
“Right now, we’re brewing 44 to 47 times per week, which is just a blistering pace,” Reardon says. “Going from 30 to 60 [barrels] gives us a lot of room, time for maintenance, and room for growth.”
“With the Canarchy deal, we get resources in terms of resources and in terms of people,” Reardon continues, appreciating the injection of talent that will be present to help with the transition as they bring one brewhouse online as they bring one offline. “They’re planning to be here for the first weeks. They’ll be helping with the engineering side, the things that can arise and will arise.”
The success of the partnership should be completely invisible from the Dallas consumer standpoint, however, says Reardon. Primarily, it will be felt by retail partners. “They’re only going to see strength in organization, I guess,” he speculates. The buy-out by Canarchy means access to chain level buying and to distribution contacts outside the state. Otherwise, “It’s really business as usual as far as the customer.”
Deep Ellum Brewery brewed 45,000 barrels last year and is on pace for 55,000 barrels this year, a volume Reardon says would be more anticipated in a multi-state brewery. That Deep Ellum has been able to do this with such a lean team is laudable, but it’s also been a strain of resources.
He appreciates the opportunity to hire more staff. “It’s being able to fill that gap,” he says. “You don’t want to get ahead of yourself, and then the growth doesn’t come.”
Deep Ellum is opening a tap room in Fort Worth. “No question, once we increase capacity and move some of the production down to Austin, it frees up the [Deep Ellum] brewery to be more experimental, to do small-batch stuff,” Reardon says.
And on a personal level, as someone who attended the University of Colorado, where he first became enamored of brewing, Reardon has role models in the upper talent echelons of Canarchy and Oskar Blues Brewing, who will be colleagues. “Guys that I looked up to even back then, [and] to have those resources at my fingertips, ” he says, “It’s symbiotic,” and very much “a cool next chapter.”