Craft beer is one of the hottest trends in Houston's bars and restaurants. Whenever a new bar opens, it typically dedicates a substantial selection of its beer selection not just to craft beer — but specifically to craft beer brewed in the Houston area.
Despite all that success in the overall marketplace, Fort Bend Brewing Company's revealed on Facebook that it has ceased operations. Owners Ty and Sharon Coburn write that they "gave it all we had to build a brand that we were proud of," but that wasn't enough to sustain the business. The overall tone of the statement is somewhat defiant.
Part of Fort Bend's problem could have been lack of support from the enthusiast community.
"For all our cynics and disparagers, you know who you are, well, my mother taught me if I don’t have anything good to say about someone, then don’t say anything at all – enough said," the statement reads.
The Facebook post concludes with a more positive thought: "To all of our supportive retailers and patrons, we sincerely thank you for your support during the past years, you made it worthwhile. To our awesome volunteers, we couldn’t have done it without you. With the warmest gratitude from the bottom of our heart, thank you, we will miss you. On to the next chapter."
Part of Fort Bend's problem could have been lack of support from the enthusiast community. In a world where a diverse, constantly evolving range of offerings keeps people engaged, Fort Bend came up short. Both Fort Bend and 8th Wonder are two years old, but craft beer rating site Beer Advocate lists 23 beers for 8th Wonder versus only 13 for Fort Bend. Three-year-old Buffalo Bayou lists 45.
Fort Bend also made the decision to commit to retail sales via bottles more quickly than other beer startups, which could have hampered its ability to innovate and build support through bars and restaurants.
Whether the brewery's closing serves as a sign of future struggles in the growing craft beer scene or is just a one-off example of a failed business remains to be seen.