Paris farm brewery triples capacity

Taproom, farm-to-table restaurant accompanies expanded beer production

Prestonrose Farm and Brewing Company in Paris recently added a three-barrel brewing system that will triple production.
(Special to Democrat-Gazette/Prestonrose Farm)
Prestonrose Farm and Brewing Company in Paris recently added a three-barrel brewing system that will triple production. (Special to Democrat-Gazette/Prestonrose Farm)

Prestonrose Farm and Brewing Co. is now able to make more beer than ever before.

The Paris-based organic farm, which also operates a brewery and restaurant, recently added a three-barrel system and began producing its first beer with it over the weekend. The decision to expand beer production started over a year ago, in March 2021, explained co-owner Liz Preston and it came with a raft of challenges including supply chain snafus which seem to be hindering nearly every industry.

"They told us it was in stock when we ordered it," Preston explained about the new system. "And it was in stock -- only in China."

The new system triples the small brewery's production and is an upgrade from the one barrel system Preston began with about seven years ago. Room had to be made for the new gear, since the old system used to share space with the kitchen. Now the new system has taken over the kitchen area while the operation brought in a food truck to make meals, as well as snacks and finger food served to customers.

Liz Preston, along with her husband Mike, who goes by Preston, began the organic vegetable farm in 2013, which now includes the brewery, a taproom and a farm-to-table restaurant operation open at various times during the week. They also recently added a 1,500 square foot four-season enclosed porch to accommodate additional sheltered seating.

Arkansas craft brewers produced 38,066 barrels of beer in 2020, down nearly 7% from 2019's record production of 40,819 barrels, according to information provided by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division of the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration. Beer production jumped 16% in 2019 when compared with the year before. A barrel of beer contains 31 gallons.

The Arkansas Brewers Guild has 41 member breweries, plus seven guild member breweries in the planning stages. There are at least seven non-guild member breweries operating currently, according to the organization.

Bart Watson, chief economist for the Brewers Association, a nonprofit trade group supporting small and craft brewing, said the nation's breweries are recovering from the economic impacts of the covid-19 pandemic despite dealing with high prices brought by inflation and challenges of supply chain snarls. He said, in general, smaller breweries are bouncing back the strongest, but it's related to the fact they were the hardest hit by the pandemic.

"We've definitely seen some smaller breweries who found traction in the market for their distributed beer make investments to keep those sales going. That said, others have been more content going back to their previous model. A lot of this variation can probably be explained by local market conditions, which is why there isn't a clear national trend," Watson said in response to email questions.

Tony Guinn is the co-owner of Gravity BrewWorks in Big Flat in Baxter County and the president of the Arkansas Brewers Guild. She said the state's breweries, like those nationwide, are suffering from higher costs across the board to produce beer and many are considering raising their prices to keep up. Guinn said while a few breweries like Prestonrose are looking at increasing their capacity to make beer, more are exploring options to package and distribute their product.

Liz Preston said customers are slowly finding their way back to Prestonrose after the covid pandemic hammered breweries and restaurants across the state. She said it's been a little more difficult to remind patrons they're back open and ready to serve them because of their rural location, so she's been keeping her social media channels full of goings on and new offerings at the brewery to keep people's interest up.

Liz Preston said the Memorial Day weekend was busy and she's hopeful the momentum will continue to grow.

With the addition of the new brewery system plans are to offer more beers on tap locally and throughout the state. She said once production begins in earnest, she expects to be delivering kegs to restaurants and bars throughout the state.

"The size of our old system limited us," Liz Preston said. "Now we can expand our footprint."

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