Ozark Beer Company off to a fast start in 2015

Ozark Beer Company has been on a tear as of late.

Since the turn of the year the Rogers brewery has released its second canned beer, installed an automated canning line, announced the release of a barrel-aged stout, and hired a new brewer.

Ozark’s second canned beer

2015 started with the arrival of Ozark’s second canned beer – Belgian Style Golden Ale. The first received high praise for both the beer inside and the design on the label. Paste Magazine actually named American Pale Ale one of the 40 most beautiful beer cans in the land. BLKBOXLabs, who was responsible for the creative work on that one, returns with a really cool-looking campfire theme for the canned version of Belgian Golden.

Canning rate increases

In February came news that Ozark was installing a new canning line and de-palletizer. As popular as canned American Pale Ale had become since its release, it was often hard to find in local beer stores. The brewery could probably have sold 10 times the beer it was placing in the market, but the old canning process was incredibly inefficient. Canning by hand led to a paltry rate of five cans per minute. The new equipment increased that rate to 30 per minute. Hopefully we will see more styles of Ozark beer in cans as a result.

Spring barrel release

Late last week Ozark announced that a bourbon barrel-aged double cream stout will be released on March 20 – the first day of spring. Brewed back in September and weighing in at over 9% ABV, the beer promises to be big and bold with a bourbon nose and notes of vanilla, chocolate, coffee, and brownie. To support the release the brewery will host a party with live music and a sausage pairing. Tickets didn’t last long though, selling out in just 48 hours. If you didn’t get a ticket don’t worry – the beer will be poured in the taproom beginning the day after the party. 4-packs will also be available for carry out.

New full-time brewer

Jesse Gagnon / Courtesy

And then on Monday Ozark announced the hiring of a full-time brewer to support the brewery’s growth. Jesse Gagnon spent the last three years at Mother’s Brewing in Springfield, Missouri, but will now be joining forces with Ozark brewmaster Andy Coates to craft some of the region’s finest beer. We hope to catch up with Gagnon sometime in the near future to learn more about his background in brewing.

There’s a lot going on at Ozark Beer Company these days. The brewery has steadily built a legion of fans, along with a buzz that can be heard throughout the industry. The beer is solid and the brand has staying power. Quality and creativity co-exist in a way that keeps good beer drinkers coming back time and time again. And with new capital investments and an extra set of hands in the brewhouse, expect Ozark to increase market penetration into Northwest Arkansas and beyond.

Brian Sorensen (@EBSorensen) is an admitted beer geek, occasional home brewer, and member of the Fayetteville Lovers of Pure Suds.