Dallas has few diversions other than eating, drinking and shopping.....and shopping does not interest us.
So we spend our time hopping from restaurant to restaurant and to every pub that we can find in search of the perfect meal and the perfect beer.

We randomly review restaurants and bars, dishes and beers at whim and give our brutally honest opinions of our findings. And while we concentrate on Dallas, we travel far and wide to sample cuisine from all regions of the country and beyond.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Firewheel Brewing Ceases Operation

You have probably heard by now that Firewheel Brewing Company has ceased to be, it is no more, it is a dead parrot. Actually, you may not have heard, so sorry to be the one to tell you.

This brings up an interesting question; why would a city that size of Dallas not be able to support a moderate number of craft breweries?  The Snobs have discussed this to some length and have come up with a couple of insights.

There are several cities that are much smaller than Dallas that support a great number of breweries with the number increasing every year.  Seattle, for example has over 100 breweries, almost 300 in Washington, with no sign of retraction.  Tampa, Florida has 40 breweries. Tampa. Ashville, North Carolina, with a population of LESS THAN 100,000 souls, has over 40 successful breweries.  So why can Dallas not support the few that are currently in operation? The problem lies in both the producers and the consumers.  Let's slam the consumers first, shall we?

Texas has a huge macho problem.  The vast majority of Dallasites love to be able to brag that they drank 24 beers the night before rather than bragging that they drank 2 delicious craft beers.  The fact that the 24 watery beers that they guzzled while watching the Cowboy lose yet again, actually contained less alcohol than the 2 delights that they could have had does not matter at all.  These are the same people that drive a Fordasaurus 4 wheel drive, duelie truck the 2 blocks between where they live and work. Unfortunately, these people will never become craft beer drinkers.  The craft beer producers in Dallas do not seem to recognize this fact.  They refuse to admit that Bubba will never drink craft beer, yet that is the market that they continue to pursue.

To be sure there are several fine beers being produced in Dallas, award winning gems scattered here and there.  Unfortunately, there are many very average to below average beers being produced as well. There is not one beer or brewery that has garnished national attention.  Why?  Because Dallas brewers play it very safe and take no risks.  We find it disconcerting that there are no breweries in Dallas willing to take any risks. The brewers in Dallas do not recognize that the kind of people that wish to be active in the craft beer movement are stimulated by genius and inspiration, and without these there is no excitement, no chatter.  Dallas brewers are, in a word, boring.  Safe = dull = death to the industry.  Every brewer in the metroplex makes a stout, an ale, an IPA, and all are very similar and while a few stand out as really good examples of the styles, they are very, very safe.

Even for a market as unsophisticated as Dallas, there is room for many more craft breweries. But there is no more room for boring beers.  In order for these to succeed the brewers and investors will need to recognize that they need to get the craft beer drinkers excited about their creations.  An amazing beer will create lots of chatter, and excitement is infectious.  While hipsters are annoying, they will jump on to any bandwagon that is creating talk, and hold on with a deathgrip, bringing other hipsters along with it.  This is what the Dallas beer market desperately needs, some excitement.

We are sad to see Firewheel go the way of Pearl and Celis, but their beers were just too dull, and they were located in an area that is far from enlightened.  Remember Dallas brewers, safe = death.

1 comment:

  1. I appreciate this point of view but wish you'd be more specific about what you think a 'non-boring' beer might be. I think some of the small batch stuff Petticolas has done lately counts as non-boring but that's just me. Maybe giving a shout out to encourage more risk taking would be more productive than calling folks who are in the arena 'far from enlightened'? Nevertheless, thanks for getting me and maybe other folks thinking.

    From a purely business standpoint, any new-ish small business/brewery has to reliably pay the bills and that probably requires starting with 'safe' beers that people will buy and then branching out to more esoteric brews. Given this, maybe a better question worth debating is 'At what point CAN/SHOULD a brewer feel confident enough -financially, creatively, culturally - to branch out and build a deeper bench of talent?"

    I would argue that having at least 4-5 solid choices that consistently sell reasonably well would be a good point at which to begin branching but that seems to be what everybody is already doing so we go back to my original beef with this post: you don't give us any examples of non-boring local beers. If you started listing them and ended up with more than a half dozen then I think it will show that your argument ("Dallas breweries are boring") isn't all that strong. I'm curious to hear what others have to say about this...