Craft Beer News

Fort Worth's Wild Acre Brewing gets new owners who plan big things

Fort Worth's Wild Acre Brewing gets new owners who plan big things

Wild Acre Brewery
Big things coming to Wild Acre. Photo courtesy of Wild Acre

One of Fort Worth's top craft beer brewers has a new owner, and they have very big things planned. Wild Acre Brewing, founded in 2014 by John Pritchett, has been acquired by Dallas' Bishop Cider as part of a crazy-big expansion that includes the acquisition of another brewery in Arlington.

Bishop Cider is the company founded by husband-and-wife Joel Malone and Laura Malone that makes hard cider, founded in 2014 right as cider was beginning to trend. They also operate the Cidercade concept, featuring dozens of taps of Bishop Cider, plus food and an "entertainment buffet" where patrons pay a nominal admission fee and can play the games and activities for free. "Cider" + "arcade" = Cidercade, see. There are currently three Cidercade locations: the original in Dallas, plus locations in Austin and Houston, and soon there will be four more.

They're also now expanding into craft beer.

Craft beer
According to a release, Bishop acquired Wild Acre Brewing who were open to a deal in exchange for the benefits Bishop Cider could provide, including a large in-house sales and marketing team.

Wild Acre Brewing brews crafted beers, malts, and wines and also offers a taproom for tasting and drinking alcoholic beverages.

Wild Acre beer will continue to be produced at the facility, but the brand will be getting a refresh that includes fine-tuning recipes and investing in equipment that improves Quality Assurance and Quality Control.

There's also a new sheriff: Grant Wood, most recently co-founder and brewmaster at Revolver Brewing, before the company was acquired by Molson Coors in 2016, and previously, Boston Beer Company.

Located at 1734 E El Paso St., the Fort Worth facility comprises nearly 200,000 square feet of warehouse space and sits on 21 acres, providing ample room for expansion. To that end, Bishop Cider will open a "one-of-a-kind entertainment concept" at the site, with details on that coming in the fall. So that's new CiderCade location #1.

Wild Acre will also be the new home to TexBev, a beverage co-packing company owned by Bishop Cider and currently located in Dallas. According to Cidercade co-owner Joel Malone, moving TexBev will allow it to expand its capacity and capabilities with the addition of the equipment from Bishop's Dallas cidery and Legal Draft's Arlington brewery.

"Wild Acre has gained a lot of respect in Fort Worth," Malone says in a statement. "Founder John Pritchett has built a very impressive facility and the beer can hold its own against other local breweries, but I believe there is potential to compete on a larger stage."

Bishop Cider has also acquired Arlington brewery Legal Draft Beer Co., which closed its doors in March 2022 after six years in business. This acquisition was primarily about the equipment; according to Malone, the wait times for new brewing equipment have grown exponentially in recent years.

Bishop did not assume their liabilities and will not market beer bearing the Legal Draft label. Bishop will however open a Cidercade location at the Arlington property, at 500 E Division St., at the end of 2022. So that's new location #2.

Cidercade expansion
Construction is currently underway on Cidercade Fort Worth, 1813 W Bowie St., just south of downtown. It will be the largest Cidercade to date at 25,000 square feet and is expected to open by the end of summer. So that's new location #3.

Bishop will also relocate Cidercade Dallas to 1555 Regal Row, a space with 79,000 square feet that's nearly 10 times larger than the original. It will feature concepts, games, and activities not offered elsewhere else in Texas. The current location at 2777 Irving Blvd. will remain open until the new site is complete. An opening date has not been announced. So that's new location #4.

Bishop Cider was founded in Dallas' Bishop Arts District a decade ago as a quaint 700-square-foot cider bar.

"Dallas, our home base and literal home, was our first location, but a redo of Cidercade Dallas has been on our wish list for years," Malone says in a statement. "We finally get to bring our wildest ideas to life and go huge."

Summing up, their business now comprises three brands:

  1. TexBev provides beverage co-packing services for its clients with a focus on specialized processes such as tunnel pasteurization, hot fill, and retort sterilization. TexBev is a co-packer of canned cold brew coffee, tea, juice, energy drinks, wine, beer, and RTDs.
  2. Cidercade has dozens of taps of Bishop Cider, serves artisan food, and offers an “entertainment buffet” where patrons pay a nominal admission fee and the games and activities are free to play.
  3. Bishop Cider, the company’s house brand of hard cider, is currently sold and distributed in Texas, Oklahoma, and select states in the northeast.