Rahr & Sons: The Fort Worth Brewery Merging Craft Beer with True Texas Grit
The history of craft beer in Texas is a complicated one. Paul Gatza, the director of the Brewers Association, stated that Texas and most of the American South did not develop a craft beer culture until 2010. Nowadays it’s hard to imagine a Texas without craft beer but this was won at a tough price. One brewery struggled and persevered to pioneer the craft beer culture in the Lone Star State and went onto become the most famous in Fort Worth: Rahr & Sons.
Coming from a multigenerational line of brewers dating back to his family’s German roots, Fritz Rahr had dreams of opening his own independent brewery. He left a job as a rail freight salesman and, together with his wife Erin Rahr, pursued the brewery business in 2004, a time when most restaurants and bars’ beer lists were dominated by Bud, Miller, and Coors. As Brad Farbstein of Real Ale Brewing Co said, “Selling craft beer in the 2000s was tough. You would have been better off selling ice to an Eskimo.”
The Rahr & Sons brewery was on the verge of collapse multiple times, sometimes literally. At one point, Rahr had to rely on the labor of volunteers to keep the brewery running. In 2010, a snowstorm destroyed the brewery’s roof and most of its equipment. Thankfully, the company could still be salvaged and gave the Rahrs an opportunity to rebrand and rebuild. Since then, Rahr & Sons implemented a more efficient production line and developed an in-house laboratory. It expanded its previously German-lager only offerings to Dadgum IPA, which debuted this April. And most markedly, Rahr & Sons switched from selling bottles to cans.
Canning is changing the brewery’s landscape. Cans are lighter in weight and can ship more easily than bottles. Cans chill faster and keep the freshness of beer better than bottles. They are also easier to recycle. With this new development, Rahr & Sons were able to keep their product reject rate low at 1 percent compared to the 4 to 5 percent when they were shipping bottles. Cans, moreover, are ushering a new era for the Fort Worth brewery, one that goes outside Texas’ borders. Over the course of this past year, the company has shipped to Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Kansas. Thanks also to the laboratory and quality control measures, Rahr said confidently, “[W]e know our beer is stable; we know it can travel. We hope to be in 17 to 20 states by the fall of next year.”
Rahr & Sons has come a long way since 2004. It has since won more than 80 national and international awards for its unique beer flavors and it is consistently named Fort Worth’s favorite beer.
Rahr & Sons’ experimentation with developing craft beers and a more efficient shipping process could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit. If you are conducting similar experiments, you could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and receive up to 14% on your expenses. To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today.
Swanson Reed regularly hosts free webinars and provides free IRS CE credits as well as CPE credits for CPA’s. For more information please visit us at www.swansonreed.com/webinars or contact your usual Swanson Reed representative.