It’s not often that a business sends out a news release that starts “We Are Not Closing,” but Grapevine Craft Brewery did last week.
As reported by the Star-Telegram’s Robert Philpot, the brewery rather was announcing that it had decided to stop selling its beers for distribution to wholesalers in Texas. Instead, the only place you can now get GCB beers such as Lakefire Rye Pale Ale, Sir Williams Brown Ale is at the brewery itself at 906 Jean St. in Grapevine.
“At this time, it just doesn’t make financial sense for us to continue distributing our brands at a loss,” the brewery explains.
Small craft breweries have been popping up all over Texas in recent years but are running into a regulatory system that limits their operations.
As reported last year by DFW.com’s beer columnist, Scooter Hendon, GCB and Deep Ellum Brewing Co. are suing the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, seeking the same commercial permissions that Texas wineries and distilleries have when they sell directly to customers.
Put more simply, microbreweries aren’t allowed to sell their products on site for off-site consumption.
“We are hopeful to see change happen in this area, which would only enhance what we are able to do in our taproom and provide our customers with an exceptional experience when they come to visit,” GCB’s announcement says.
Lockheed’s other plane
At Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, the talk usually revolves around ramping up production of the F-35 Lightning II or moving toward the end of the line for the famed F-16 Falcon.
But another airplane is being designed and engineered at the Fort Worth plant that may play a big role in the company’s future: the T-50A trainer.
The T-50A, developed in partnership with Korean Aerospace Industries, will be offered by the company in the upcoming U.S. Air Force competition to replace the T-38 Talons, said Orlando Carvalho, Lockheed’s executive vice president of aeronautics. The Air Force is looking to buy 350 new trainers.
The T-50A is a variant of the T-50, which was developed when South Korea was buying the F-16, Carvalho told the crowd at a Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Thursday.
While the aircraft will not be built in Cowtown — the company recently held a ribbon-cutting on a production facility in Greenville, South Carolina — its DNA is tied to the Fort Worth plant.
“The design engineering, the sustainment engineering … will be done right here in Fort Worth, Texas,” Carvalho said. “While we won’t be doing the final assembly of the airplanes here, Fort Worth will continue to have a very big role in this program” assuming Lockheed is selected.
According to Lockheed, the T-50A has fighter capabilities, which are needed to eliminate the training gaps and inefficiencies faced by pilots who are learning to fly the highly advanced, fifth-generation fighters being produced by Lockheed and others.
“It is an incredibly high-performing airplane. It is an airplane that exists today, and the adaptation is very low risk,” Carvalho said. There are 100 T-50s flying today, and 1,000 pilots have been trained in them, according to Lockheed.
Carvalho said the company expects a decision by the Air Force by end of 2017 or possibly early 2018.
Steel City Pops headed to Waterside
More tenants have been revealed at Waterside on Fort Worth’s west side, as the retail development moves toward big openings this fall.
Three tenants will join major retailers including REI and Whole Foods at the shopping center, being built by Trademark Property at Bryant Irvin Road and Arborlawn Drive.
▪ Steel City Pops, which has locations in Fort Worth on Currie Street and at TCU, sells craft popsicles made with organic, locally sourced ingredients.
▪ CycleBar, a premium indoor cycling studio that offers spalike amenities.
▪ Aaron Brothers Art & Framing.
All three will open by year’s end.
Several stores and restaurants are already open. Sur La Table, an upscale kitchen-supply store, opened its first Fort Worth location this month, and Taco Diner opened. They joined outdoors retailer REI, Blaze Pizza and Zoe’s Kitchen.
Whole Foods is scheduled to open on Oct. 12. Other restaurants will include Piatello Italian Kitchen and Tokyo Joe’s.
National Aviation Day celebrated by American Airlines
Aviation enthusiasts are celebrating National Aviation Day with American Airlines.
Working with AirlineGeeks.com, the Fort Worth-based carrier offered several behind-the-scenes tours of its airport hubs, headquarters and operations facilities on Friday to commemorate the day.
Although National Aviation Day was started by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939, choosing Aug. 19 since it was Orville Wright’s birthday, the #AAviation Day event with American is the idea of Ryan Ewing, 17. Ewing has more than 15,000 Twitter followers on his @AirlineGeeks page and initially approached American about a National Aviation Day event in Washington, D.C., where he lives.
“It was a fun thought and we were just going to do it in D.C.,” Ewing said. “We didn’t think we’d go too far with it and we’re now having tours in 13 different locations.”
Ewing, who is entering his junior year of high school in Bethesda, Md., started AirlineGeeks.com in 2013 and said he has always loved aviation. He hopes to attend Purdue University and get a degree in aviation management and airline operations.
About 110 tickets to tours in London, Chicago, Los Angeles and other American facilities were available to followers of AirlineGeeks.com and were snapped up within hours after they went online in May, Ewing said.
In Fort Worth, American allowed aviation enthusiasts to tour the archives of the C.R. Smith Museum, the headquarters of regional subsidiary Envoy Air, the new Integrated Operations Center and Dallas/Fort Worth Airport. American flight crew members rang the closing bell on the Nasdaq exchange on Friday.
“It is a pivotal time in their legacy and growth,” Ewing said, explaining why he approached American instead of another airline to celebrate the day. “They are just going through the merger. They are taking a lot of new airplanes into their fleet. It’s a great time for aviation enthusiasts to come out and see how far they’ve come.”
Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @Sky_Talk
Max B. Baker: 817-390-7714, @MaxbakerBB