Did you know that two-thirds of homebrewers didn’t start dabbling in their craft until after 2005? There are now an estimated 1.2 million homebrewers in the United States, and they produce 2 million barrels of beer every year. That’s a lot of beer!
As they perfect their craft, some of the most talented homebrewers go on to open their own breweries. One who took the leap is Steve Porcari, co-founder of Four Corners Brewing Co. in Dallas, Texas.
Porcari’s interest in homebrewing came from wanting to make unique beer that used local ingredients, emphasizing Texas’s bold flavors and big heart. Like most homebrewers, Porcari shared his creations with friends and family. About 10 years ago, he took some samples to a friend who owned a restaurant. This friend was impressed, and he suggested Porcari open a commercial brewery.
And that’s exactly what Porcari did, along with partners George Esquivel and Greg Leftwich.
Four Corners has grown steadily since they opened. Last year, they brewed 7,000 barrels of beer, compared to 1,200 barrels when they first started in 2009. In 2015, Four Corners was named by Thrillist as one of the best breweries in Dallas, and their team of three has expanded to a team of 15.
As they grew, they began to set their sights on a new, larger location. In the meantime, they needed a way to keep their beer cans cold.
Because the situation was temporary, Porcari had no need for an expensive traditional walk-in cooler. He’d heard about the CoolBot through Urban Acres Farmstead, which sponsored a Four Corners farm-to-table event. It proved to be the perfect solution.
Porcari insulated a 20×20 room with foam. The room, plus an A/C unit and a CoolBot, cost a total of about $3,000. Porcari estimates that this solution saved Four Corners $22,000 compared to traditional cold storage.
“With cans, we just need to keep them somewhere below 50°F,” says Pocari. “We built a room like you would build in your house. The only difference is we used foam insulation as opposed to fiberglass insulation. We put plastic on the walls so we wouldn’t have to worry about any molding. I bought a window unit, mounted it, and put the CoolBot up to it. We keep that room, depending on the time of year, anywhere between 40°F and 50°F.”
While the folks at Four Corners won’t use their temporary cooler forever, they’ve found it an excellent interim solution. “As a short-term solution to get us through when we move to our new 3,000 square foot location, it’s absolutely perfect,” says Porcari.
Four Corners customers are benefiting from the CoolBot as well. While most of the brewery’s beer is distributed locally, one customer he drives in almost 400 miles from Lubbock! They used to load beer into an insulated trailer, but it didn’t keep the beer cold enough during the drive, especially on hot days, when the mercury can easily top 100°F. Porcari recommended the CoolBot, and their customer used it to build a mobile cooler right in the trailer!
The next time you’re in Dallas, definitely stop by Four Corners. You’ll find 9 beers on tap, ranging from crisp golden ales to hoppy IPAs. (John Bergher, our VP of Sales and Marketing is partial to Local Buzz, a golden ale that features local honey for a crisp, floral aroma and spicy finish.)
As you sip your refreshing brew, take a moment to look around and silently thank that restaurant owner who suggested Porcari open a brewery so many years ago. And also thank your lucky stars that you’re drinking one of the best beers in Dallas.