It’s been more than a year since the last new brewery opened in Central Arkansas. In that time, more than a dozen breweries have opened up around the state, with most of those coming to Northwest Arkansas. The stall has prompted some to wonder if the “craft beer bubble” has burst in the Little Rock area and if the people here will still support new breweries. We will get the chance to see toward the end of this year when Blade and Barrel Brewing Company opens its doors in Jacksonville.
Blade and Barrel is the new concept from Mike Green, former brewhouse manager at Diamond Bear Brewing Company. Green and former Diamond Bear head brewer Jay Ragsdale will be heading up brewing operations at the new microbrewery near the Jacksonville-Cabot border. Green envisions an outdoor beer garden, more than a dozen taps and space for food trucks to operate. But Blade and Barrel will also feature something no other brewery in Arkansas has: a full-service barber shop.
“My wife, Angi Green, is a fully licensed barber,” said Green. “Straight razor shaves and things like that. And she is excellent at it. We just thought the idea would work. We’re planning on five chairs to start out with and a big window that looks into the brewhouse, so if you’re in the chair or waiting for your cut, you can see the brewery in action.”
If you’re already thinking of beer names that fit the barbershop theme, you’re not alone. Green floated Hard Part IPA and Pompadour Porter as some possibilities. Green isn’t saying a lot right now about the beer menu, though he plans to keep 8–10 of his own beers on tap at Blade and Barrel. Green plans on releasing more information about his beer lineup later this year. But there’s little doubt that Green has the excitement and drive to get Blade and Barrel off the ground as soon as possible.
“The idea about combining the businesses had been in the back of my mind for a while,” said Green. “It just kind of became a fun concept that we developed over time while I was at Diamond Bear. I’ve got an entrepreneurial spirt, I guess, and I knew that I wanted to own a brewery, and this concept just developed to the point that we fell in love with it.”
Green picked Jacksonville after trying to get a spot in Little Rock that ultimately fell through. After doing some research, he found a spot in Jacksonville that would need permission from the city before work could start. Jacksonville’s planning commission responded quickly, clearing the red tape for Blade and Barrel within a week.
“They were actively pursuing us,” said Green. “We felt so welcome here, and the property felt so right for us, it felt like a great area.”
Green hopes to open Blade and Barrel by October, an ambitious timeline considering there are still some old structures on the property that need to be razed before construction can begin. His brewing equipment is set to arrive in September, so October would be the very earliest Blade and Barrel could be up and running. We will stay up to date with Blade and Barrel’s progress and bring you more news from Green and his team in the months ahead.
Logo is property of Blade and Barrel Brewing Co. and is used by permission.