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Located in Little Rock (Pulaski County), the Lost Forty Brewery was founded in 2014 by John Beachboard, Scott McGehee, Albert Braunfisch, and Russ McDonough. The micro-brewery takes its name from a forty-acre forest in Calhoun County known by locals as the "Lost Forty." The forest's virgin hardwood and pine trees are owned by the Potlach Corporation. In 1996, the Potlatch Corporation and the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission (ANHC) entered a forty-year cooperative to conserve the forest. Lost Forty Brewery began raising funds for the initiative as well as other ANHC conservation and protection initiatives by forming a new non-profit, the Lost Forty Project Foundation, in partnership with the ANHC.
In January 2014, Brewer, Beachboard, McDonough, and McGehee of the Yellow Rocket Concepts, a Little Rock restaurant partnership, leased the 19,000-square-foot former headquarters of Candy Bouquet, located at 501 Byrd Street in Little Rock. The group retrofitted the building to include a thirty-barrel brew house, three thirty-barrel fermenters, and one sixty-barrel fermenter to allow up to 3,000 gallons of beer to be brewed per year at full capacity. The group then hired master brewer Omar Castrellon, formerly of Thr3e Wise Men Brewery in Indianapolis, Indiana, and River Rock Pub in Little Rock, to bring his more than twenty-five years of experience to the company. Lost Forty then purchased a bottling and canning line to be used on site.
By November 2014, Lost Forty was ready for large-scale brewing and distribution, with plans underway for the creation of an in-house tap room and restaurant. Castrellon, Beachboard, and bar manager Dylan Yelenich had been testing Lost Forty’s first brews in Beachboard’s garage for more than a year, trying to come up with four standard beers. The result was Lost Forty’s Bare Bones Pilsner, Pale Ale, Love Honey Bock (made with Arkansas honey), and Rock Hound IPA. McGehee announced that more equipment had been ordered that would allow the brewery to scale up to 20,000 gallons a year if needed. On December 17, 2014, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that Lost Forty’s taproom restaurant would be holding a soft opening on December 20 and 21, a partial opening on Christmas Eve, and a full-scale opening on December 26, 2014. The restaurant’s theme was reported to be “Munich beer hall food meets the Delta.”
By February 2015, there were six micro-breweries located in Little Rock and North Little Rock (Pulaski County). Lost Forty distinguished itself by creating a long list of unique craft beers. The company’s first-year anniversary, on December 21, 2015, saw the debut of Lost Forty’s Anniversary Doppelbock beer. Lost Forty’s products are available only in Arkansas stores, and all beers are made from start to finish in Arkansas. In 2017, Lost Forty took silver in the Great American Beer Festival for its Logger Rita Vienna Lager.
For additional information:
Chase, Glen. “Breweries Becoming Toast of Town.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, February 15, 2015. Online at http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2015/feb/15/breweries-becoming-toast-of-town-201502/ (accessed July 19, 2017).
“Lost Forty Brewery.” BeerAdvocate.com. https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/38015/. (accessed July 19, 2017).
Cody Lynn Berry
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Last Updated 10/11/2017
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