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Four Corners Brewing Regains Independence, Returns To Roots

The owners repurchased their company from Constellation Brands in 2023

Four Corners Brewing Co. began in 2004, with a modest 5-gallon extract experiment, concocted on a kitchen stove and left to ferment in a bathroom tub. As time went on, their batches grew in size, their equipment improved and they eventually transformed their home garage into a hub for creating award-winning homebrews.

Folks from all over North Texas flocked to the storefront, but as the company grew, it began to face challenges. A  big brand offered to help the company expand. However, despite positives from the newfound partnership, Four Corners felt held back by what they could produce.

Following a five-year run under Constellation Brands (the parent company of Corona, Modelo and Pacífico), the brewing company's founders repurchased it in June 2023, reinstating the business to its original local ownership. 

Now, the business is working to return to its original roots with delicious brews and exciting things ahead. 

Here’s Local Profile’s Q&A with co-owner George Esquivel:

What is the inspiration behind Four Corners? 

The inspiration behind Four Corners Brewing Co. began in 2004 when Co-Founders Steve Porcari, Greg Leftwich and I met through home brewing circles. We have always had an immense appreciation for craft beer and one day decided to share our enthusiasm by establishing a commercial brewery.  

Our goal was to elevate craft beer culture in our hometown. As Dallas natives, we wanted to celebrate the diverse communities that are not only part of our personal roots but also contribute to make our city special. Merging craft beer and ‘local flavor’ became the inspiration for the name Four Corners Brewing Company. Beyond crafting amazing brews, our brand found expression through vibrant, lotería-inspired artwork. The idea was to share a part of ourselves through a product that was hand-crafted, inside and out.

How does Four Corners set itself apart from other breweries? 

It’s important for us to be authentic to ourselves and our vision. Therefore, we continue to develop our craft, find ways to engage our audience and support our community. 

In terms of beer, we’re constantly exploring different beer styles and ingredients. As a result, we’ve arrived at several flagship beers like our session-able Local Buzz honey-rye golden ale or our aggressive El Chingón IPA. We’ll soon roll out our new line of fruit-forward cheladas with flavors like limón y chile, piña picante and cantarito.

We also take immense pride in our inviting atmosphere for guests and small businesses alike. At our taproom, we host a monthly night market, ‘Viernesito,’ where we host small businesses from across the metroplex to showcase and sell products. From handmade crafts and artisanal goods to unique culinary offerings, the night market curates a diverse selection that mirrors the eclectic spirit of Four Corners. By hosting this event, we aim to support local businesses and create a dynamic space where guests can explore and discover a variety of artisans while enjoying our exceptional craft beer.

What does it mean to you to be an independently owned company?

In June 2023, we proudly took back the reins of our business from Constellation Brands. Being an independently owned company once again means that we are tapping back into our entrepreneurial roots, allowing us to realign to our original vision. 

The newfound independence has made us nimbler than ever. It is not just about brewing beer; it is about embracing the spirit of Texas and serving the communities that have supported us since the beginning. Our goal is nothing short of becoming the definitive beer brand in Texas, with products available in Dallas, Austin, Rio Grande Valley and San Antonio.  

What benefits occurred after the split with Constellation Brands?

This new age of independence allows us to be agile while evolving and growing alongside our people. We can move at a faster pace, create new products and better engage with our community. Part of this is reigniting our presence in DFW and throughout the entire state. Our team is embracing the ability to swiftly respond to industry trends and create new and innovative products while staying true to our brand. 

Have there been any setbacks since leaving? 

Entrepreneurship comes with a different set of challenges. We knew navigating a transition of this magnitude would be met with a few learning curves, but we’re readjusting as needed. Re-establishing our brand identity has been a collaborative effort, met with enthusiasm from our team, distributors and retailers alike. 

What has the community response been since returning to an independent company?

The community has been incredibly loyal and supported us every step of the way throughout this journey. We have customers who have stood with us through every milestone since opening our doors in 2012, and their overwhelmingly positive response has been extremely gratifying. We could not be more grateful for their continued support. 

How has the brewery industry evolved in the past 5 years? 

The craft beer movement continues to gain momentum, with consumers showing a growing interest in unique and locally produced beers. We’ve seen a surge in the number of craft breweries across the state and country, with more now than I could have imagined 15 years ago. We’re proud to be part of a robust craft beer scene and to have contributed to the growth. 

Like other brewers, we must find new ways to keep consumers engaged. Technology and social media continue to provide new ways to communicate with our audience. But it’s a noisy environment with a lot of clutter. We must be the ones who are listening to our audience vs. adding more noise. Understanding one’s audience is more important than ever. 

Consumer needs and wants to continue to evolve. The beer aisle looks significantly different than it did five years ago with more variety than ever. Today, shoppers can find high-ABV, flavor-forward beverages right next to lighter, low-alcohol or non-alcoholic options. Brewers must adapt quickly to these changes.

How do you best adapt to industry changes and trends?

We stay ahead of industry trends through a multifaceted approach that places our audience at the center. Yes, we dig into market research and data, but our taproom sits at the center. Our taproom provides daily dialogue with guests where they can provide feedback on our beers and brand experience. We intently listen to our community and actively seek to understand their desires to ensure our offerings resonate with their evolving tastes. 

Additionally, our responsiveness to customer feedback is a driving force behind our adaptability. Whether it's introducing a new flavor profile inspired by popular demand or fine-tuning existing favorites, we view our customers as collaborators in our brewing journey.

What can customers look forward to this year?

We have a lot of exciting happenings slated for 2024. From introducing new products to engaging in collaborations, each element has been developed with our audience in mind. This year is dedicated to exploring new horizons, fueled by our newfound independence, and we eagerly anticipate sharing our journey with beer enthusiasts across the state.

Can you give any hints of new products coming? 

Of course. We are thrilled to share that our upcoming launches are poised to deliver innovative products that set a new standard for Four Corners. While I can't divulge all the details just yet, I can provide a glimpse into the new releases.

Guests can anticipate a combination of classic Four Corners' vibrant creativity and craftsmanship, where each product is made to embody our commitment to innovation, redefine expectations and provide a fresh perspective on craft beverages. One is a bright, bold and enhanced version of our Spicy Chela. The other is light, crisp and what we call at the taproom "not your dad's Mexican lager." The third product is a seasonal series that encapsulates what it means to be Chingón, with new releases available every three months.

As the release date approaches, keep an eye on our social channels for sneak peeks, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and, of course, the official announcement detailing the products.

Which of your beers is your favorite?

I love them all for varying reasons. Like with music or food, mood typically drives my decisions.