Friday, May 20, 2022

Bishop Cider going big, acquires Wild Acre, Legal Draft

Image: Bishop Cider.

Looking to expand its reach and build upon an already well-established brand, Bishop Cider of Dallas has acquired assets associated with two North Texas breweries - Wild Acre Brewing Co. of Fort Worth, and the recently-closed Legal Draft Beer Co. of Arlington.

TexBev, a beverage co-packing company owned by Bishop Cider, will relocate operations from Dallas to Wild Acre’s Fort Worth facility and expand its capacity and capabilities with the addition of the equipment from Bishop Cider's Dallas operation and Legal Draft’s Arlington brewery. Bishop Cider will also be opening a one-of-a-kind entertainment concept at the site, with details to be revealed in the fall.

Regarding Legal Draft, Bishop Cider acquired the company's equipment, but did not assume their liabilities and will not market beer bearing the Legal Draft name. Bishop Cider will, however, be opening a Cidercade location at the Arlington property around the end of the year.

At Wild Acre, beer will continue to be produced at the facility, but the brand will be getting a refresh - investments will be made in QA/QC equipment, and recipes will be fine-tuned. Grant Wood, co-founder and former brewmaster at Revolver Brewing of Granbury, is joining the new management team to ensure the liquid at Wild Acre is world class.

"Rightfully so, Wild Acre has gained a lot of respect in Fort Worth," says Joel Malone, CEO of Bishop Cider and TexBev. "Founder John Pritchett has built a very impressive facility and the beer can hold its own against other local breweries, but I believe there is potential to compete on a larger stage. I’m thrilled to be able to make this happen and partner on the next evolution of Wild Acre."

Wild Acre Camp Bowie will remain open, but it and a planned Fairview locale will transition to a new brewpub concept by an ownership group independent of Bishop Cider in the coming months.

On the cider side of things, Bishop Cider operates three locations of its Cidercade concept in Dallas, Austin, and Houston. In addition to the outlook for Arlington, construction is underway on Cidercade Fort Worth, set to open by the end of summer just south of the city's downtown area.

What's more, there are plans to relocate Cidercade Dallas to a 79,000-square foot building, a spot nearly 10 times larger than its present home (opening date to-be-determined).

"As the business has grown, we have been blessed to be able to make every new location even better than the last," says Malone. "Here’s the problem with that - Dallas, our home base and literal home, was our first location. A redo of Cidercade Dallas has been on our wish list for years and we finally get to bring our wildest ideas to life and go huge. Get ready."

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