The owner of a new brewery and taproom in Benton County says the business will differentiate itself from other breweries in the region by focusing on lagers.
“We’re trying to fill a niche that hasn’t been filled yet in Northwest Arkansas,” said Mark Smith, co-owner of Natural State Beer Co. It’s open at 5214 W. Village Parkway in the Village on the Creeks (VOC) development in Rogers. “A lot of the other breweries have done a good job of focusing on ales. But in general, you don’t see a lot of craft breweries focusing on lagers. [Lagers have] kind of gotten a bad rap. We want people to realize it’s not just fuzzy yellow stuff. There are all kinds of different colors and flavors we can bring with lagers.”
Smith, president and co-founder of Tatum-Smith Engineers in Rogers, and business partner Dan Clous, a director at food production company TreeHouse Foods, opened the business Nov. 23. Natural State is leasing approximately 3,000 square feet of a new two-story building owned by Willow Crossing Development, led by Tim Graham. Willow Crossing is leasing out the second floor as office space.
Smith said the brewery is in an ideal spot for several reasons. It’s adjacent to the Razorback Regional Greenway. It’s situated on the northeast edge of a large pond that is part of the VOC, which offers picturesque views from an outdoor patio. The business also fills a “dead zone” for breweries in Rogers. Smith noted Core Brewing and Foster’s Pint & Plate nearby are now closed.
“This fills a void in this particular area,” he said.
Smith, who is vice president of home brewing club Ozark Zymurgists, said Darah Martin, previously with Bentonville Brewing Co., is the taproom manager. William Sonneman is the head brewer. Natural State has a brewing capacity of seven barrels at a time and is offering up to eight different lagers.
As far as distribution goes, Smith said he’s first focusing on building out the brewery and taproom and assessing what the demand is in 2020.
Natural State will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. There’s more information at naturalstatebeercompany.com.
Smith said Big Sexy Food will have a food truck parked in brewery’s front parking lot.