The story of Armadillo Ale Works begins with a happenstance meeting between Bobby Mullins, his ex-girlfriend’s dog, and an armadillo.
We’re sitting inside Deep Ellum Brewing Company in roundtable fashion, and a very reluctant Mullins is hesitant to answer my question, “Why Armadillo?” He’s trying to change the topic. For the past ten minutes, he and his partner, Yianni Arestis, have been telling me about their big dreams of opening the first craft brewery in Denton. It’s going to be called Armadillo Ale Works. In the last couple of years, Arestis and Mullins have been selling artisan sodas, and now they’re putting that on hold so they can focus all their efforts on beer.
Here’s where our beloved DEBC comes in. Enter John Reardon (owner) and Tait Lifto (brand and sales ninja) of Deep Ellum’s craft brewery. They’re two really cool, chill guys. One day, they’re hanging out at this event for brewers called Brews Cruise before the North Texas Beer Festival, and the next day, they’ve taken a liking to the Armadillo boys. “These guys are in it for the right reasons,” says Reardon. He can practically see their honest beer hearts poking through their shirts. The DEBC team decides to adopt the Armadillo men, and thus, a symbiotic friendlationship is born.
Ever since then, Reardon and Lifto have been teaching Mullins and Arestis how to brew beer, how to run a business, and everything about the beer world from the ground up.
“I’ve never heard of [this relationship] being done before. It’s this whole synergy and bringing things together,” says Reardon.
It’s true. You’d think that the DEBC boys would say ‘hell, naw’ to helping their future competition out, but they just don’t see it that way. They’re brewery brothers. They’re little guys against the “big guys.” (“Big guys” referring to non-local, massive beer companies like Budweiser.)
Armadillo Ale Works will be brewing their stouts at DEBC, and DEBC will help with the whole distribution process. Before this summer, Armadillo Ale Works will be releasing its Greenbelt Farmhouse Ale (a wheat beer made with grapefruit peel and coriander) and Quakertown Stout (oats, brown malt).
But back to the armadillo story. Mullins is trying, but I cannot be persuaded to change the topic. I ask Mullins if he’s ever had a weird encounter with an armadillo. He laughs nervously. “Yes, several, actually.”
“Can you tell me some of them?”
“Are they going to be included in the story?”
“Yes, they will be.”
“Okay, no. No. They’re all irrelevant.”
“Irrelevant is good!”
“When I was in college, the girl I was dating… one of her dogs attacked an armadillo, so I had to go and save it.”
Well, there you have it, folks. Mullins pried the armadillo out of the dog’s jaws and saved it. (It had to be put down later, but that’s irrelevant, right?) I’m rather impressed. If the Armadillo guys can save armadillos, I’m pretty sure they’ll brew great beer. Great logic, I know.
If you really want to, you can see Bobby Mullins lying through his teeth in this DEBC video at the 3:27 mark, right after Tait Lifto asks him if he has any interesting stories with armadillos. Note to self: Don’t play mafia with Mullins. What a terrible liar.