Virtue and Vice

| by Kacie Galloway |

In the area of downtown Fort Worth that used be known as Hell’s Half Acre, a new distillery and coffee shop is looking to bring some life to Calhoun Street. The aptly named Acre Distillery and Coffee opened quietly in December. Located at 1309 Calhoun St. across the street from the Convention Center, this is the first downtown distillery for Fort Worth.

During the day, the coffee bar opens early for the morning rush and will feature locally roasted Avoca Coffee and a selection of pastries, bagels and other standard coffee-shop fare. The cozy space, featuring a natural wood bar and La Marzocco espresso machine, offers abundant seating, Wi-Fi and standard electrical outlets with USB ports so smartphones, tablets and laptops can stay charged.

Owners JB Flowers and Tony Formby on the patio of Acre Distilliery and Coffee.

As the day goes on, the gears switch from virtue to vice, and the Acre serves up a wide selection of house-produced bourbon, gin, vodka, whiskey, fruit-infused moonshine and a selection of pre-Prohibition style craft cocktails. The large bar will feature Acre Distillery products exclusively; no beer or wine will be available, but owner Tony Formby says the selection of cocktails is sure to please a variety of palates.

“The Acre is for people who are looking for an interesting experience,” Formby said. Before purchasing the Acre property, Formby was a co-owner at Rahr & Sons Brewing Co.

A natural wood bar with USB ports.

“It’s for anybody and everybody,” head distiller JB Flowers said. Flowers, who also formerly worked at Rahr with Formby and has more than 20 years of brewing experience, said that the Acre is several weeks from full production. It will start off slowly and expand over time.

The 1920s building, with original hand-scraped pine floors and brick walls, seats more than 100 people in a cozy and welcoming 7,000-square-foot space. The L-shaped seating area wraps around the production room, separated by glass-paned French doors, giving patrons a close-up look at how their spirits are produced in the copper and stainless machines.

The Acre has no kitchen but is working to develop a limited menu for its bar, focusing on locally sourced food and vendors, said Formby. The distillery will also partner with local business for its pastry selection.

Hinting at what the future holds, Flowers says Acre’s plans to have live music and entertainment.

“We’ve been working on this for a couple years,” Flowers said. “It’s been a dream, especially for Tony.”