After brewing his own beer at home for the 10 years, Stefen Windham decided about a year and a half ago to create his own nanobrewery and go into business for himself.
Along with co-worker Dave Miller, Windham jumped from brewing at home to opening Independent Ale Works in Krum.
“To make a business we like and enjoy while being financially compensated for it,” Miller said, is something the two men hope to gain from this venture.
Nanobreweries are both state and federally licensed as well as regulated. According to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC), “No person who has not first obtained a permit [may] manufacture, distill, brew, sell, possess for the purpose of sale, … distribute, warehouse, store liquor, solicit or take order for liquor.”
Independent Ale Works passed the federal certification process, but according to Windham, “[The federal certification] is an easier process than the state [certification and licensing] because it is less paperwork.”
It took the two men a little less than two months to apply and receive their federal certification. Windham also mentioned that submitting their forms online and paying cash for the mandatory bond helped move the process along faster. Currently, Independent Ale Works is in the middle of the state-licensing process.
In Texas, a beer brewer can either be considered a brewery or a brewpub. A brewpub is permitted to sell its beer only on site, while a brewery can only package its beer to sell in stores and bars, according to TexasBeerFreedom.org, which is a grassroots organization that supports the Texas craft beer industry.
The creation of a craft brew and a brewery takes time and quite a bit of work. Windham and Miller have personally funded their new business, making the business aspect of the brewery much less complicated, according to Windham.
The business partners upgraded Windham’s home-brewing system to be able to produce three times the amount he was previously brewing for his own consumption.
The new pumps, plumbing, building, other start-up necessities that have been put into creating a brew house and brew storage area have, for the most part, been done by Windham and Miller. The only work they outsourced was the welding, in which they had no experience.
Independent Ale Works brews three ales: Amber 3.0, Honey Wheat and Blonde Ale.
“You can get a lot more flavor and depth of character with ales,” Windham said.
On July 7, Independent Ale Works had its opening celebration at its brew house offering free samples of Amber 3.0 and Blonde Ale along with hot dogs and bratwursts.
Independent Ale Works “hope[s] to become Denton’s Brewery,” Windham said.
WHERE AND WHAT
Independent Ale Works is located at 11555 U.S. Highway 380, Suite 209, in Krum.
• The Amber 3.0, according to Windham, is their flagship beer. It is flavorful and not as “hoppy” as other ambers. It has been designed to appeal to craft brew newbies who are interested in trying out the craft beer movement.
• Their Honey Wheat is light and crisp, which is nice to drink in the hot Texas heat. They don’t add any spices, however, the honey is locally produced.
• Independent Ale’s newest brew is the Blonde Ale and it has a lighter, cooler flavor.
• A fourth, Oktoberfest ale, is in production right now. Independent Ale Works is planning to serve samples of its seasonal beer at the Laredo Oktoberfest on Oct. 20.