Gravity BrewWorks, Tony Guinn, and the attractions of the Mountain View area
Gravity BrewWorks is a nanobrewery offering small batches of hand-crafted beer in the small town of Big Flat in North Central Arkansas. Locally owned and operated by Tony Guinn and Bill Riffle, the brewery is normally open Thursday through Saturday from noon to 8 p.m. During winter months, it’s a good idea to call before you visit.
Guinn is also the Visitor Information Specialist for nearby Blanchard Springs Caverns and the Sylamore Ranger District of the U.S. Forest Service. We caught up with Guinn and her brewery partner Riffle to find out more about Gravity BrewWorks.
Q: What is a nanobrewery?
A: Riffle – In popular definition, a nanobrewery produces beer in batches of three barrels or smaller. A microbrewery has to make less than 15,000 barrels of beer each year by law in the U.S. A brewpub is a restaurant-brewery that sells 25% or more of its beer on site, and a microbrewery sells 75% or more of its beer off-site.
Q: Why did you decide to start the brewery? Has it been a longtime dream? What brought you to this decision?
A: Riffle – It was something we’d talked about for a few years. We’re longtime homebrewers, and I had brewed at River Rock and Vino’s for a total of 12 years, so I was ready to start our own venture. We planned on starting small and gradually growing, but things really took off.
Q: I see that your website shows a long list of beers you brew. How many beers do you have on tap at a time?
A: Guinn – We usually begin Thursday with three of our beers on tap, but they sell out quickly, so by Saturday we may only have one of our beers on tap. We fill in with guest beers from other breweries, such as Lost Forty in Little Rock. We plan on having more of our beers as we get bigger equipment.
Q: What’s your favorite brew?
A: Guinn – Both of us love IPAs.
Q: Some might say you started a brewery in the middle of nowhere. It certainly is a rural area of the state. What’s it like to have the only brewery in north central Arkansas?
A: Riffle – We knew we’d have a lot of education to do; most folks weren’t used to craft beer. But once we got people used to the flavor of good beer, they came in droves and we were pressed to keep up with demand.
Q: What else is there for people to do in the area?
A: Guinn – Well, seeing Blanchard Springs Caverns, of course! There are biking and hiking trails in the Ozark National Forest, and going to the Ozark Folk Center for crafts and music, and visiting the shops in Mountain View. You can float and fish the Buffalo and the White Rivers. It would be easy to make a weekend visit here.
Q: Tony, tell us about your day job at Blanchard Springs Caverns. What is your title?
A: Guinn – I’m Visitor Information Specialist for the Caverns and Sylamore Ranger District. My job involves public affairs, like news releases, archiving, and familiarization tours. I’ve recently taken on supervisory duties, which includes training of new staff, paperwork, and administrative items.
Q: Is there anything else you would like people to know about the Gravity BrewWorks, Blanchard Springs, or the area?
A: Guinn – Folks need to come see the whole area in person, and remember, there is no virtual beer tasting!