Words by Scotlyn Ogel
Acre Distilling, located in Downtown Fort Worth, launched their Green Acre Initiative earlier this year, and have recently become the first solar-powered distillery in Texas.
The covered parking for the company now houses 350 solar panels, and the self-generating power produced by the panels will meet 120 percent of their power requirements, cutting the facility’s energy costs down to zero.
The owner of Acre Distillery, Tony Formby, has a background in renewable energy, and also previously held majority ownership of Rahr Brewing before opening the distillery in 2015.
“I want to make a statement here in Fort Worth that this option is commercially viable,” says Formby. “I know it isn’t for everybody, but people should a least consider making the change.”
So far, the reaction to both the initiative and the solar panels has been positive. According to Formby, most people don’t even realize the change until it is brought up.
Besides the addition of their solar panels, Acre Distilling is also cutting back on the use of single use plastic by using cups made of corn, and eliminating the use of plastic straws.
They also launched a bottle return program, where people can bring their empty Acre bottles back to be recycled. Guests receive five percent off their next retail bottle whenever they return a bottle.
Since the pandemic hit earlier this year, and the distillery was forced to shut their doors mid-March, they have taken on different business ventures to keep going. In addition to their retail bottles and cocktail kits, they also partnered with a chemical company in Arlington to mass produce hand sanitizer, which they distributed to the community.
Formby was able to not only keep his staff employed, but also hire additional help when many people were struggling to find work. They also partnered with local restaurants and chefs to host a food drive every Sunday on Magnolia in order to give back to the community even further.
“The food drive has been a lot of fun for us,” says Formby. “There is a lot of young people from different restaurants that are providing the food, cooking the food, packaging it and handing it out, and that has been a really positive thing for me personally, and for the distillery, too.”
Traditional business has been slower since they cannot hold bigger events or parties, and hours have been reduced on Tuesday through Thursday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., but Formby says that they are very fortunate to still be in a position where the business is still going strong.
For now, they are following state regulations when it comes to masks and social-distancing, but are playing it by ear when it comes to future events with the distillery.
For more information about Acre Distillery, tastings, and how to get your hands on one of their custom bottles, you can visit their website here.
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