Did you see the article that featured your favorite brewery? It was in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette this past Sunday. Scroll down for an excerpt of the article.
Breweries going with the flow, But some better-positioned than others to survive virus
by John Magsam | January 24, 2021 at 2:27 a.m.
Jason Aamodt, owner and founder of Norfork Brewing Co., added a canning line before the coronavirus pandemic hit, never realizing how vital it would become to the brewery’s survival.
When stay-at-home orders went into effect in Arkansas, restaurants closed their doors and the brewery’s own taproom was shuttered, the typical channels Norfork Brewing used to sell its suds dried up nearly overnight. That’s when Aamodt’s attention turned to his recently purchased and idle, canning line.
Aamodt said that when the brewery opened in 2018 in north-central Arkansas, there was no plan for canning, instead the focus was on kegs and sales at the taproom. Norfork Brewing added the canning equipment with the intention of easing into that aspect of the business but that plan went out the window when the coronavirus struck.
“We were sitting there looking at the canning line saying, it’s a good thing we bought this,” Aamodt said.
Since then, Norfork Brewing shifted from a taproom focused on the community, trout fishermen and tourists in a place Aamodt likens to The Shire, the home of J.R.R. Tolkien’s hobbits, into a production brewery. It’s canning four of the brewery’s top offerings and is having the beer distributed in parts of Arkansas and Oklahoma. The brewery has a 15-barrel setup, capable of producing about 45 barrels of beer a week.
But it wasn’t all smooth sailing. There was a can shortage to deal with, so cans had to be obtained and the whole canning process and distribution channels had to be established from the ground up. There was a lot of trial and error and mistakes along the way.
“We had some lucky breaks,” Aamodt said. “We had some bad breaks, too.”
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