Fossil Cove hits 10-year milestone in Fayetteville

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 1,062 views 

One of Fayetteville’s most well-known breweries celebrated 10 years of business in June.

Fossil Cove Brewing Co. opened in June 2012, during the initial wave of craft beer growth in Arkansas. The company officially celebrated the milestone with an anniversary party on June 4 at its brewery at 1946 N. Birch Ave.

Ben Mills is the owner and founder. He started the business after completing the University of California at Davis Master Brewers Program.

Fossil Cove has experienced steady growth. In 2012, the company produced 250 barrels of beer (7,750 gallons) and is on track to make 2,500 barrels (77,500 gallons) in 2022.

Mills was the sole employee when he started the business, running brewery operations and bartending. By the end of 2013, the company had four employees — two in the brewery and two in the tasting room. Besides the four-barrel brew house, the company also operates a 20-barrel production facility. Each beer barrel holds 31 gallons.

Fossil Cove has 20 employees, nine of them full-time. Andrew Blann is one of the longest-tenured. He started as a bartender six months after the business opened and is now the marketing director.

“As is the case with many small businesses, you do a little of everything,” Blann said. “Especially in a brewery.”

Blann attributed the company’s success to community commitment.

“The beer community, and to Fayetteville,” he said. “We believe in sustainable growth, and it all comes from our tasting room and the loyalty we have created in the beer community. Craft beer drinkers are your biggest fans and your loyal customers. They spread the gospel for us about what we do.

“We’ve worked to make ourselves a valuable part of the Fayetteville community and Northwest Arkansas.”

Fossil Cove is a self-distributing brewery with distribution points throughout Northwest Arkansas and the Fort Smith metro. The company has 234 active accounts, including bars, restaurants, liquor and grocery stores.

“When we started, we were kegs only,” Blann said. “We started canning in 2015, and that’s when we started growing our distribution operation.”