Another brewery coming to Norman

Published: Monday, March 25, 2019 By: Molly M. Fleming Source: The Journal Record

Norman will soon be home to a fourth brewery as the state’s craft beer industry continues to grow.

Black Mesa Brewing Co. will open its newest location on April 6. To date, Oklahoma has 44 licensed breweries, according to the Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission.

The 10,000-square-foot building has about 2,200 square feet dedicated for a taproom and event space. There are 12 beer taps that will offer the company’s staples as well as new only-taproom beers, which are called one-offs in the industry.

The brewery was started in 2012 and had its beer made out-of-state for several years. The first operation was destroyed in a tornado.

Sales and Marketing Director Greg Bilbrey has an events background, but has personally invested as a partner in the brewery. He previously owned and operated The Mercury event center in downtown Norman.

Bilbrey said he wanted to be involved with the brewery because co-founder, owner, and brewer Chris Sanders has delicious product.

“They have great recipes,” he said. “The quality of the beer is first and there’s a diversity of flavors.”

The Mercury is next door to Lazy Circles Brewing Co., 422 E. Main St., which is next to a large open lot where Stash mercantile hosts monthly farmers markets with the city’s downtown Art Walk.

“Craft beer is very in tune with the arts,” he said.

But Black Mesa isn’t in downtown where foot traffic could be generated. Bilbrey said he’s not worried about the location. He said Sanders put the brewery at 3901 N. Flood Ave. because it has 50,000 cars pass daily. Sanders owns land next to the building as well, which means there’s room for the 30-barrel operation to grow.

“(Black Mesa) is a destination, just like Coop (Ale Works) and Roughtail are destinations,” he said.

He said it will be a place where people can learn more about craft beer.

Graphic designer John Knight, who owns and operates Ment Apparel, wants to help craft beer enthusiasts find the breweries. He’s started Beer Hop, a mini guide to the breweries in Oklahoma City and the metro.

He’s been sitting on the idea since 2015 when he saw a similar guide in Portland, Oregon. Oklahoma’s craft beer industry started taking off in 2016 when breweries could add taprooms. Beer sold in taprooms can generate a higher profit for the breweries, so having the ability to open taprooms helped make breweries more financially sustainable.

The publication is free at the breweries. The next issue comes out April 1 and will have a map that shows the Oklahoma City streetcar line in relation to the breweries. Each brewery’s listing will have information about whether the place is pet- or kid-friendly and has non-alcoholic beverages, as well as other information. There will also be a three-month event calendar.

Knight is selling advertisements to help sustain the costs. He’s printing 10,000 editions in the upcoming batch.

He’s trademarked the Beer Hop name so he can take the concept to other cities. He also plans to create an app.

“The big-picture idea is that once it’s more streamlined and running itself to some degree, I want to get other markets on board,” he said. “It would be easy to have a centralized website with all the markets, or an app.”

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