Ozark Beer Company expands again

Andy Coates (right), head brewer and owner of Ozark Beer Company, helps unload one of three new 30-barrel tanks earlier this month at the Rogers brewery.

Courtesy photo

Ozark Beer Company isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

After increasing capacity by 100 percent last fall, company officials this month announced plans to increase production again.

The brewery recently purchased three new 30-barrel tanks from Karbach Brewing Co. in Houston, Texas. Each tank stands 13.5 feet tall and holds 900 gallons of beer.

The addition brings Ozark to a total of nine tanks, which will push capacity to just over 5,000 barrels (or 155,000 gallons) of beer a year – a 50 percent increase.

The new equipment will also allow the brewery to double its lineup of canned beer. Ozark currently cans its American pale ale and Belgian golden ale. Officials said they expect to be canning their Cream Stout by the end of the year, with their IPA coming a few months later.

Ozark has been open for less than two years, and already employs about 20 full- and part-time employees. In the past six months 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.

Despite the rapid growth, it’s unclear whether Ozark will finally be able to ship beer outside of Northwest Arkansas.

“We thought the tanks we have now would get us down the mountain, but it’s looking like the new tanks will only help us satisfy more demand here,” said Marty Shutter, Ozark’s marketing chief. “Our backlog of restaurants in NWA alone is almost longer than the locations that currently serve Ozark Beer, so I’m not sure this will be enough.”

Shutter said getting more Ozark Beer across Arkansas has been an ongoing challenge, but it’s still a part of the plan “It may take more tanks,” he said. “We’re working on it.”

A growing scene

Fossil Cove is planning a new brewery near its current location.

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Ozark is just one part of the fast-growing brewing scene in Northwest Arkansas.

With the recent additions of Bentonville Brewing Company and Bike Rack Brewing Co. in Bentonville, and the planning of New Province Brewing in Rogers and JJ’s in Fayetteville, the region will soon be home to 12 breweries and brewpubs.

Other more established local brands are also planning expansions and upgrades.

Fossil Cove began canning its Paleo Ale and La Brea Brown beers earlier this month. The Fayetteville brewery also added a food business, and plans to build a brand new headquarters and brewery just around the corner from its current location near the Scull Creek Trail entrance on Ash Street.

Core recently opened a new taproom at Har-Ber Meadows in Springdale, and is planning a Fayetteville pub on Mall Avenue across from Noodles Italian Kitchen.

In other news, Saddlebock is planning to add a canning line later this year, and Black Apple Crossing cidery announced it will officially open July 25 on Emma Avenue in Springdale.