When you read the words “first grocery store in the country with its own brewery,” you would likely assume we would be talking about Vermont, Colorado or maybe California. According to Whole Foods; it’s Texas.
Yesterday, the company will open up a 48,000-square-foot facilities on Post Oak Blvd. in Houston, it will be the first Whole Foods to feature an in-store brewery. The Whole Foods Market Brewing Company will produce between 400-500 barrels of beer a year at the Houston location. The beers will be brewed in a small five barrel, two vessel brewing system from Criveller.
The beers will be distributed to other Whole Foods Market stores in the Houston area to serve on tap according to Jeanette Webster, Houston media and community relations for Whole Foods Market. At the Post Oak location, beers from other breweries will occupy 12 of the 20 taps at the bar.
In May, Whole Foods hired Dave Ohmer to oversee its new brewing operation. He has over 12 years of experience in the industry, most recently serving as the head brewer for Knoxville, Tenn.-based SawWorks Brewing. HIs résumé also includes serving as adjunct professor at South College in Knoxville, where he helped develop curriculum in fermentation and brewing classes.
Ohmer will be tasked with creating original beers, including seasonal releases made with ingredients that are sold in the store itself. The first beer from the new brewery will be a sweet potato weizenbock brewed using 50 pounds of roasted sweet potatoes that came straight from the produce section in the store. In addition, the bakery will incorporate spent grains from the brewing process in some of its bread.
In addition to a brewery, the store also includes two bars—one of which is one a mezzanine on a second level—and a tricycle manned by an employee that will be selling beer out of kegs attached to the back to people while they shop.