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Restaurants & Bars

Deep Ellum Brewing Stops Brewing in Deep Ellum (but Will Keep Selling Beer)

Dallas’ only craft brewery when it opened in 2011, Deep Ellum is now part of the Monster Beverage Company. We don’t know where Dallas Blonde will be made, but it won't be in its namesake neighborhood.
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The once-local company has been part of national and international companies since 2018, and now forfeits its Dallas taproom and production facility. Bret Redman

Deep Ellum Brewing Company is no longer part of Deep Ellum.

The brewery, which is owned by the Monster Beverage Corporation, is closing its Dallas taproom and production facility—but will continue to sell cans of beer under the Deep Ellum name. It’s not clear where “Deep Ellum” will actually be produced.

“We’ve made the difficult decision to close our taproom and brewhouse,” the brewery posted on Instagram this morning. “While our hearts are heavy with this news today, our love for Deep Ellum will always run deep.”

Deep Ellum Brewing was the only craft brewery in Dallas’ city limits when it opened in 2011, but its appetite for growth left it, at times, unable to stay true to its roots. In 2018, its head brewer, Barrett Tillman, left to start his own brand, telling the Dallas Observer that “Their drive is to leave this art world behind and be this big thing. And part of that bigger community. Deep Ellum simply stopped investing in me. When I looked at the 2018 schedule, there wasn’t anything in there that seemed innovative.”

Just one month after that interview ran, the brewery joined Canarchy, a national craft brewery company that also produced Oskar Blues and Cigar City. In 2020, Deep Ellum founder John Reardon was fired over a lawsuit he filed against Canarchy, alleging that the company had failed to make payments associated with the purchase and was sabotaging Deep Ellum’s brand to limit Reardon’s take.

Two years later, Canarchy was purchased by Monster—yes, the energy drink company—in a bid to enter the alcohol sector. By this point, beers like Deep Ellum, Wasatch, Cigar City, and Oskar Blues were being made at multiple production facilities across the country. This January, Monster announced that Canarchy would change its name, as a collective, to Monster Brewing Company. That press release explained that despite all of the craft beers in the company’s portfolio, more than half of Monster’s alcohol sales came in the form of The Beast Unleashed, a “Monster Seltzer,” and Nasty Beast hard tea.

While Deep Ellum has historical importance as a leader of Dallas’ current craft beer boom, and a huge share of the market for its easy-drinking Dallas Blonde, the brewery now officially lacks the one thing permanently etched into its name: a connection to Deep Ellum.

It’s a testimony to the neighborhood’s reputation and popularity, perhaps, that the beer will continue to trade on the Dallas-rooted name. But, for many locals, there’s a bittersweet taste in the brew now. Deep Ellum is unequivocally from somewhere else.

Author

Brian Reinhart

Brian Reinhart

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Brian Reinhart became D Magazine's dining critic in 2022 after six years of writing about restaurants for the Dallas Observer and the Dallas Morning News.
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