To tell the story of Acre requires more than one post. There is a lot going on but more than just the building, the booze, coffee or food, it’s the people you should know. The ones that make Acre possible.
I talked about Tony Formby, the owner, in the previous post a little. Tony hails from across the border, Vancouver to be exact. He started a touch screen operations company that sold their products to restaurants. He has lived in California, New York, Boston and Fort Worth since 1997. You can say he’s a Texadian at this point. He sold his company in 2002 and began selling illuminated signs. That’s how he met the folks at Rahr and became established in the Fort Worth brewery business. Tony also owns a Canadian craft brewery import business.
Dean Nunez is the mixology mastermind at Acre. Dean hails from New York City. As a kid, Dean was skipping school to go work at a pizza joint. He would leave school at 10:00 a.m. and work at the pizza restaurant until 11 at night. Dean’s father was a police officer and had a few connections so he managed to get Dean a job behind the bar at 17. Dean has been bartending now for over 10 years. He met a girl from Fort Worth and followed her to Texas. Y’all guess where they met? If you said, a bar you’re right. True love can be found at a bar! I find Dean one of the most interesting bartenders that I’ve ever spoken with. Although he’s young, he’s been in the business for a while now. Dean likes to listen to his customers and he loves to be creative. Acre allows his creativity to shine and encourages it. Dean believes that part of his job is to educate the customer. There’s an open collaboration and the customer is reaping the benefits. Dean and J.B. are a cocktail lover’s dream team.
Speaking of J.B., folks I’ve never spoken to a distiller who got goosebumps while talking about his product until I spoke with J.B. Flowers. J.B. and his partner in crime, Brad Bergen are distilling some of the best liquor around. We can all thank J.B.’s brother-in-law for getting him into home brewing over twenty years ago. A home brew kit grew into an obsession, which included J.B. attending U.C. Davis where he studied the craft. While at U.C. Davis, J.B. said he learned really quick that, “you don’t know nothing.” As mentioned in the previous post, J.B. won a few national award while he was at Rahr. After leaving Rahr J.B. decided to start making his own liquor at his home and invited Tony over to taste it. That must have been some good liquor because Tony agreed to open Acre with J.B. as the head distiller. J.B. believes that distilling is about, “creating this thing and everyone likes it.” That makes him happy. He will also tell you that he owes a great deal to Fritz Rahr and Tony Formby. I personally think those two got damn lucky to find J.B. He loves to collaborate with Dean and to try and come up with new flavor profiles with his infusions. J.B. loves to create, play and learn. It’s apparent in his goosebumps.
Finally, there’s Kyle. Kyle Bush that is. No, he’s not the racer nor is his a member of that famous political family. He is however a native Fort Worthian, UT graduate and lover of history and political science. Kyle is also the director of sales for Acre. Kyle worked on numerous political campaigns in Texas and California. He was golfing with Tony one day when Tony asked him to join his import business. Kyle wisely said yes and while working for the craft beer import business he spent time in both California and on the east coast. He is happy to be home and able to create a brand from Fort Worth.
If you haven’t been to Acre, you’re missing out. It’s run by some of the nicest and smartest people I’ve ever met. Each one brings something different to the bar, so to speak.
*photo by R. Reconnu photography
Visit Acre at http://www.acredistilling.com