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B52 Brewing Joins the Fortress Empire

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B52 Brewing Joins the Fortress Empire

The Houston beer scene has done a lot of changing in recent months.

 

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Sure, we’re well over 65 breweries by now, but we’ve also seen several closures as well.  It’s no surprise that a craft beer market, especially one of our size, will see highs and lows, ups and downs.

COVID certainly took a toll on our brewer friends. From staffing issues to the lack of on-site consumption, and even packaging shortages, some breweries unfortunately just couldn’t recover.

As things began to open up again, we all flocked to our favorite local taprooms (which are all of them) and bought and drank everything could. (We know we did.)  

IPAs continue to lead the way (somehow) but beer-flavored beer is working its way back onto shelves and back into our fridges. We’re also seeing more local breweries offering online ordering (a HUGE plus in my opinion.)

It seems like things are basically back to normal and while we lost a few brewery friends along the way, we’ve also made several new ones.  

I think we can all agree that it’s great to see taprooms full again.

One of those breweries that not only survived the pandemic but even thrived is Fortress Beerworks. We’ve been following them since day one and have watched them grow from Spring’s first brewery to a distribution legend.  

Co-owners John O’Hara and Dion Billard know what they’re doing.

Not only can you find their beer all over the Northside, but they also know a thing or two about homebrewers because they’ve seen a thing or two.

Misfit Brewing started in the garage of Juan Sanchez and grew a cult following as one of the most popular homebrewers in almost no time. From crispy and clean lagers to bright and fruity hazies that worked to strengthen the haze craze of Houston, Misfit just couldn’t miss.

The owners of Fortress saw the opportunity at the same time, Juan, at Misfit decided he wanted to go to the next level.

Hence, Misfit Outpost was born.  

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This was the first time a Houston brewery grew its local market share by investing in a homebrewer. (We were there on opening weekend and the place is LEGIT.)

Now, a little over a year later, Fortress has gone shopping again.

It’s pretty well known that B52 Brewing has been looking for a buyer this year. Situated on a gorgeous six-acre lot in Conroe, it did come as a surprise to see them hit the market. (We’ve been reviewing their beers for what seems like forever.)

Several parties were interested in B52 and everything that came with the deal, including out-of-towners from that metroplex a few hundred miles north on I-45.

However, “Drink Local” prevailed and Fortress Beerworks is proud to announce the acquisition of B52.  

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While core operations will remain in Spring, this new distribution arm will allow both businesses to go back to basics and streamline operations on both sides. Customers can expect a more focused menu from B52 and more experimental offerings from Fortress.

“We want to take some of their best practices and institute them into Fortress,” John told us.

You can also expect to see more of both breweries’ beers everywhere while still allowing B52 to do its thing.

“We believe this is a premium brand in a well-run brewery and our intent is not to change that.  B52 Brewing will continue as B52 Brewing and we believe in the business as it is,” said John O’Hara.

“We’re excited about their staff joining the team and continuing to grow on the successful business that the Daniel family built.”

Join us in (re)welcoming B52 to the Houston beer scene and in congratulating Fortress on another monumental milestone!

Beers to you, Houston.

 

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Brent Topa
brent.topa@beerchronicle.com

Brent is originally from Ohio but has been in Houston for over 10 years. As an Aggie, musician, animal advocate, and Lego collector, he always has something going on. If you have an imperial stout, come find him. He'll want to add it to his insatiable beer spreadsheet.

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