Several new craft beer choices on tap for Northwest Arkansas in 2015

Northwest Arkansas craft beer fans continue to see new choices when it comes to brands entering the local market.

The most recent addition is Oklahoma City’s COOP Ale Works, which hit local taps last week.

The 5-year-old brewery has quickly become a favorite for many Oklahomans, with year-round highlights like F5 (IPA) and DNR, a 10% ABV Belgian-style dark ale.

COOP also recently entered the session beer market with three new 3.2% ABV canned beers – Briefcase Brown, Negative Split, and Spare Rib Pale Ale — which were introduced last month.

Expect to see packaged beers on shelves in the next couple of months.

News from Hawaii indicates Kona Brewing Co. is expanding into the final nine states that don’t already receive distribution, including Arkansas.

Kona Brewing has experienced double-digit growth for more than five consecutive years, both in its home market of Hawaii and across the U.S., according to company officials.

“In early 2015 we are approaching our 21st anniversary of brewing high-quality craft beer, and this national push is a perfect tribute to that milestone,” said Aaron Marion, Kona brand manager. “We look forward to bringing some warmth and a taste of Hawaii to the growing market of craft beer drinkers in the central U.S., especially during these cold winter months.”

Their award-winning Longboard Island Lager and Big Wave Golden Ale are two of the brewery’s most popular nationwide offerings, but the company also offers a tasty pale ale and IPA on the Mainland.

Kona is expected to land in mid-January 2015.

Another exciting brand headed our way is Brooklyn, New York’s Sixpoint Brewing.

Already a popular brand along the East Coast, Sixpoint will bring their slick design and signature slim 12 oz. cans to the Natural State sometime in January, according to a recent announcement from Arkansas Craft Distributors.

Founded in 2004 in a converted garage in Brooklyn, Sixpoint has produced more
than 200 styles of beer, with new limited-release beers circulating frequently. Sixpoint beers
are available at some of New York City’s finest restaurants, including Gramercy Tavern, The Spotted Pig and the Momofuku restaurant group.

Year-round offerings include Bengali (IPA), The Crisp (pilsner), Resin (imperial IPA) and Sweet Action (cream ale).

Arkansas Craft Distributors also announced the signing of Wisconsin’s Sprecher Brewing Co. and Fayetteville’s own Apple Blossom Brewing Company.

The additions signal the introduction of Sprecher offerings in Arkansas, and a wider range of distribution for Apple Blossom beers across the state.

It’s been a busy year for Arkansas Craft Distributors, who were nominated for the 2014 Craft Beer Distributor of the Year Award by the National Beer Wholesalers Association and the Brewers Association. The annual award recognizes an American beer distributor who goes above and beyond in their efforts to actively market, sell and promote craft beer.

Arkansas Craft Distributors has so far helped usher in over 16 breweries to the state, including Mother’s, Lazy Magnolia, Schlafly, and Fort Collins. The Little Rock-based wholesaler brought in several new breweries in 2014, including Summit, Bayou Teche, and Southern Star.