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Bright lights, big bear beer on Broadway

Diamond Bear Brewing Company has completed the purchase of the Orbea Building at 600 North Broadway .

“This is a long anticipated move and will allow the brewery to both expand its production as well as offer a much greater venue for tourism and events,” said Nathan Hamilton, North Little Rock Communications Director. “Diamond plans to move into the new location as soon as the previous owners are able to relocate to another site. This is expected to take between 60 to 120 days.”

As part of the new expansion, Diamond Bear will be adding a new “three vessel” and a 30-barrel Brewhouse, which will increase both the production and efficiency of the brewery. In addition to the new Brewhouse, Diamond Bear plans to add several fermentation tanks, which will more than double their current capacity. The new location has ample space for adding several more tanks to allow for continued growth. The new location has sufficient land which, when the time comes, will allow for the company to expand the building and capacity without having to relocate.

The new building will be remodeled, with a large taproom, private party area, large retail area, and outside patio with plenty of bike racks and parking. The brewery also plans to have a “Brewseum” which will focus on the history of beer overall, beer in American and beer in the Natural State.

North Little Rock Mayor Joe Smith said the purchase is a welcomed addition to North Little Rock.

“Perseverance pays off,” Smith said. “ I am excited that Diamond Bear Brewery will bring the production, distribution and tasting of it’s popular products to our community. Not only will the brewery bring jobs and recognition, it will bring more visitors to our downtown and be a significant addition to our growing list of ‘things to do’ in Argenta. We welcome Diamond Bear to North Little Rock.”

Todd Larson, Executive Director of the NLR Economic Development Corporation said, “This project had its ups and downs over a three year period. But, we stayed committed and together as a team and we produced the desired results. The North Little Rock Economic Development Commission is pleased and proud that a growing, prestigious company like the Diamond Bear Brewery will be another important contributor to our growing food and beverage community.”

According to Russ Melton, President, Diamond Bear, increasing sales and demand for Diamond Bear’s great beer has caused the company to be looking for a new home for several years. “This is the very best overall location we’ve found for our brewery and the community.”

Currently the company has limited retail hours of Friday, Saturday and Sunday from noon till 6 p.m. and offers tours at 3 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. Both the retail hours and the tours will be expanded in the new location, according to Melton.

Mayors Patrick Hays and Smith, along with the North Little Rock Economic Development Corporation worked closely with Diamond Bear and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission along with the Chamber of Commerce, Greater Little Rock Chamber of Commerce, City Commerce, Planning, and Engineering departments and Flake and Kelley Real Estate Jim Dailey to make this project a reality.

Russ and Sue Melton founded Diamond Bear Brewing Company in 2000 with the mission of providing Arkansas and the surrounding region with their own local flavor.

The name Diamond Bear comes from the first two nicknames for Arkansas. Initially, Arkansas was called the Bear State. But in 1905 when Diamonds were discovered in Arkansas it was changed to the Diamond State. Since it’s founding, Diamond Bear has won numerous national and international awards for its world-class beer.

Jesse Melton is the Master Brewer. He started working there six years ago, moving his way through the ranks. He started out cleaning kegs and sweeping the shop and learned the art of brewing along the way.

For more information about the brewery or tours call (501) 708-BREW (2739) or visit their website: www.diamondbear.com.

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