Beer and snacks -- on us | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Beer and snacks -- on us

Posted By on Thu, Mar 12, 2009 at 12:34 PM

A Chicago-based maker of toaster pastries and granola bars announced today plans to hire 250 for a production facility in Searcy.

And, hey. Wash those crunchy bars down with a few bottles of Diamond Bear, produced by the only commercial brewery in Arkansas. Diamond Bear has announced a state-aided expansion that should just about double production. One of the new tanks will be named Ginger, in honor of First Lady Beebe. (Oh, OK, a reader calls my hand. Maybe not, but she'll be on hand for the festivities.) See details on the jump.

DIAMOND BEAR NEWS RELEASE

Diamond Bear will increase its production capacity by almost by 100% with the addition of three new tanks.  Due to increasing sales and demand for its great craft beer, Diamond Bear is adding three additional 60 barrel fermentation/ bright tanks to its current brewing facility.  The addition of these new tanks will increase Diamond Bear’s fermentation capacity by 80% and its finishing tank capacity by 100%.   The new tanks which arrived Tuesday, March 10, were purchased from Total Process Service (TPS), a small tank manufacturer located in Maplewood, Minnesota.  The tanks were ordered several months ago and were the result of a joint collaboration between Diamond Bear, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC), Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas, and Twin City Bank located in Little Rock.  Diamond Bear is utilizing an existing Federal Finance Program called EDP (Economic Development Program) to help finance this expansion.  This program which was unknown to Diamond Bear was recommended by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, who had visited the company and was looking for ways to help Diamond Bear create jobs in Arkansas.  This is a program which has been in existence for several years and is designed to offer small businesses lower than average interest rates and up to 15% in grant funds.  

Diamond Bear continues growth through economic downturn
The three new tanks will affectionately be named Shirley, Mary Ann and Ginger.  They will take their place beside Paris, Nicole, Bertha and Laverne.  The new Shirley will take the place of a previous Shirley which failed in April of 2008, due to a manufacturing defect.  The defective tank was built in China.  The new tanks are made in America, which is consistent with Diamond Bear’s desire to buy American if possible, and from Arkansas if at all possible.  First Lady Ginger Beebe will help christen the new tanks in a ceremony this Friday at 11 AM.  Of course World Class Arkansas Beer will be used in place of champagne. 
Even with the loss of a large tank early 2008, Diamond Bear had managed to grow its volume by over 9% in 2008 with a 19% increase in actual revenue.   Diamond Bear is projecting growth of over 40% in 2009 with the addition of the new tanks and its increased capacity.  The company currently has four full time employees and three part time employees.  The expansion will help solidify those jobs, and should add additional jobs as the extra capacity is turned into sales growth.  
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 national and international awards to date.  Its number one selling beer, Diamond Bear Pale Ale was ranked the number one Pale Ale from 2004 to 2008 by the Brewers Association, winning back to back Gold Medals in the World Beer Cup.  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 of the state capitol.  For more information about the brewery or tours call us at (501) 708-BREW (2739) or visit us on our website: www.diamondbear.com.

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