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North Texas brews pick up awards at big beer festival

North Texas microbrewers scored well at the respected Great American Beer Festival early this month, with gold medals scooped up by Grapevine Craft Brewery, Denton’s Armadillo Ale Works, and Dallas’ Peticolas Brewing Co. and Community Beer Co., whose brewmaster, Jamie Fulton, is a Fort Worth resident.

Fulton picked up a gold for his Public Ale, an English bitter, and a bronze for his Ascension coffee beer.

Rahr & Sons of Fort Worth snared a bronze for its 8.5 percent alcohol Doppelbock, called The Regulator.

Receiving golds were Armadillo’s Quakertown imperial stout, Grapevine’s Sir William’s English Brown Ale and Peticolas’ Scottish ale, 2012 Great Scot!

Texas’ iconic Shiner Bock won an award, not as a German-style bock but as an “American-style dark lager” — which is not bad at all. Saint Arnold of Houston grabbed a silver for its Summer Pils and a bronze for its Weedwacker wheat ale. Golds went to Real Ale of Blanco for its cherry-infused Benedictum Belgian ale and to Austin’s Oasis Texas Brewing’s London Homesick Ale, a canned English ale.

Burk Burnett Building turns 100 years old

The Burk Burnett Building in Sundance Square turned 100 years old this year and Worthington National Bank, the first-floor tenant, recently celebrated the occasion.

The 12-story building, 500 Main St., has been owned by Sundance Square since 1974. It was designed by architects Sanguinet & Staats in 1914 and was the city’s first true skyscraper. Sundance restored the building in 1981. It’s named for the wealthy rancher who built the famous Four Sixes Ranch and owned a bank in Fort Worth.

The first floor of the building was originally the State National Bank, but it has also been used as retail space for home furnishings, a shoe boutique, an art gallery and a Chinese restaurant.

In 2005, Worthington National Bank took over the first floor space and made it its mission to restore it. Greg Morse, the bank’s chief executive officer, hired historians, artisans and contractors to re-create the bank’s original design.

“We thought it was important to bring the space back to its original state,” Morse said.

The space has won awards from Historic Fort Worth, the Texas Historical Foundation, Downtown Fort Worth Inc. and the Texas Downtown Association.

Last remnants of Fort Worth’s Rigg Group being sold

The last remnants of The Rigg Group, founded in Fort Worth more than a century ago, will soon be gone.

Dallas-based AFS/IBEX Financial Services, which was founded by The Rigg Group in 1986 and grew to become one of the top 10 insurance premium finance companies in the U.S., is being sold to MetaBank, a subsidiary of Meta Financial Group based in Sioux Falls, S.D.

AFS/IBEX has offices in Dallas and Newport Beach, Calif., employing about 50 workers. The acquisition of AFS/IBEX is expected to close by year’s end.

The Rigg Group was a Fort Worth-based holding company with interests in insurance, underwriting, brokerage and finance. Its Wm. Rigg Inc. Realtors was sold in 1999 to Coldwell Banker and Wm. Rigg Co. Insurance and RISC Inc. were sold in 2007 to Hub International.

Cecil Ray Jr., chairman of AFS/IBEX, is the former chairman of The Rigg Group. He has been retired from the firm’s daily operations for some time.

Ray, John Holsan, AFS president, and Jay Scheideman, AFS chief financial officer, founded AFS. Scheideman was formerly The Rigg Group’s chief financial officer and executive vice president.

The Rigg Group traces its roots to 1895 when Scottish immigrants founded Childress Co. in Fort Worth to insure properties financed by the Bank of Scotland. In 1910, the company brought in William Rigg, a successful Galveston insurer, as a partner. In 1955, Rigg became the principal owner of Glen Walker, Collett & Rigg.

Cecil Ray Jr., Rigg’s nephew, joined the company in 1957 as an insurance salesman. In 1963, Ray bought out his uncle and a year later the company was renamed Wm. Rigg Co. Ray became principal owner in 1980.

Fort Worth firm to speed mail delivery in Brazil

Mail delivery in Brazil will be getting faster.

Fort Worth-based NPI, a 35-year-old mail and parcel sorting technology company, said it has received an $11 million contract from Brazil Post to upgrade the country’s mail and parcel sorting equipment.

Initially, NPI will upgrade all of Brazil Post’s Siemens delivery bar code sorter machines, which is expected to streamline Brazil’s postal services, improving delivery times and adding 10 years to the country’s existing systems.

NPI’s corporate headquarters is at 14901 Trinity Blvd. Henry Daboub, its founder and chief executive officer, said the company is “a multifaceted postal technology provider that not only produces technologically advanced and cost effective sorting solutions, but also revitalizes and upgrades existing systems.”

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