FORT WORTH, Texas — Right in the heart of downtown Fort Worth, feet away from Texas A&M's law school and the convention center, sits Acre Distilling Co.
At first glance, it looks like any other distillery. It's industrial. There are barrels lined up against multiple walls. There's a bar. There's a tasting room. There's a chalkboard listing a menu and, thanks to COVID-19, a QR code for customers to pull up daily specials and food options.
It may look pretty standard, but the company is in a very small pool of distilleries. One that you likely wouldn't notice without taking a closer look at the overhead covering in the parking lot or if you happened to be on the roof of the building across the street.
"We've got 320 solar panels," owner Tony Formby said.
Formby opened the distillery in 2015, in February 2020 he finished the plan to go green. The panels generate 115% of the distillery's power needs.
"During the day, we generate power," Formby said. "We use that power all day long. We generate a surplus during the day. We feed that to the grid, and then at night when we’re not generating electricity, we pull back from the grid.”
Formby worked in tech in California for years and was a fellow at the Clean Tech Institute in Colorado at the National Renewable Energy Lab.
“I learned quite a bit about solars and other renewables," Formby said.
In addition to being fully solar powered, Formby said the plastic-looking cups are actually made of the corn, the straws are made of actual straw and there is a reusable bottle program where customers get discounts if they bring their bottles back.
"I think it's smart," Formby said. "It makes sense."
Formby said there are additional financial incentives for using renewable energy for his business, but he said his focus is on doing what he can to be sustainable.
"I do have this background in renewables, and I have four kids and I can see how things have changed over the last 40 year as far as our environment and the various things happening," Formby said. "The technology’s there. We have to have the will to use it. We change and we adapt, and that’s what this is all about."