by Max Brantley
A riverside deck, enlarged taproom and restaurant will be part of the new location. The move was discussed in our cover story on the brewery last summer.
Diamond Bear Brewing Company will soon be “ brewing” in North Little Rock according to Mayor Patrick Hays. An offer and acceptance agreement has been entered into between the Mayor and Diamond Bear Brewing Company, for the City to sell approximately three (3) acres of land in Baring Cross to Diamond Bear for the new location of their award winning brewery, nearly tripling their square footage and capacity.
“Diamond Bear will be a great addition to North Little Rock’s expanding inventory of great places to create exciting memories, and a fine fit to join our downtown business community,” said Mayor Hays.
The proposed 3-acre tract of land currently owned by the City is located off Pike Avenue just west of River Road and south of the new Pike Avenue turnabout. The property sale proposal must be approved by the City Council, and will be considered at the next meeting on April 25th.
The property overlooks the Arkansas River and borders the North Little Rock Millennium Trail and the new Pike Avenue traffic roundabout, all of which were important factors in their desire to locate here,” commented Todd Larson, Executive Director of the North Little Rock Economic Development Corporation. “In fact, because of certain property restraints which make the building and operations uniquely well suited for the site” he said.
According to Russ Melton, President, Diamond Bear, increasing sales and demand for Diamond Bear’s great beer has caused the company to be looking for a new home for two years. “This is the best overall location we’ve found for our brewery and the community. We have outgrown our current space, and plan to expand from our current 7,000 to 20,000 sq. ft. and increase from 4 to 20 employees. The property can accommodate a planned expansion to 60,000 sq. feet with more than 70 jobs. This location will allow us excellent proximity to our distributors and greater accessibility as a tourist destination for Central Arkansas.”
Plans call for accommodating several hundred patrons in their new location which will include a much larger tap room, a small restaurant, a deck overlooking the river, rental of a special event room/or even the entire brewery for private functions, and public tours on Saturday and Sunday. Construction will take between 6-12 months after the North Little Rock City Council gives its approval.
We have worked closely with the Mayor Hays, North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce, North Little Rock City Departments of Commerce, Planning, and Engineering, Flake and Kelley Real Estate (Jim Dailey), and Whitsell, Evans and Rascoe Architects (Brad McLaurin) to make this project a reality,” both Larson and Melton stated.
The name Diamond Bear comes from the two earliest slogans for Arkansas; “Bear State” and “Diamond State”. Diamond Bear is a “Craft Beer” which by industry definition contains no adjuncts (rice or corn), chemicals or additives, which are common in most mass produced domestic beers. Diamond Bear produces several types of beer and has won seven (7) national and international awards to date. Diamond Bear also produces “Big Rock Root Beer” for root beer lovers and those who choose not to drink alcoholic beverages.
Diamond Bear was founded by Russ and Sue Melton, both from Little Rock, Arkansas. The mission statement for Diamond Bear is:
To provide the people of Arkansas and the surrounding region with their own local brewery, which produces great premium all natural beer products, which reflect favorably on Arkansas and the surrounding region.
Diamond Bear is the only production brewery in Arkansas and is located three blocks east from the state capitol. For more information about the brewery or tours call (501) 708-BREW (2739) or visit our website: www.diamondbear.com.