Untamed Beers from a Fort Worth Original

Panther Island Brewing Honors its Home City with Exceptional Craft Brews

In 1875, a Dallas-based reporter sought to mock his city’s neighbor, and published an article in which he claimed to have seen a sleeping panther in downtown Fort Worth. The writer’s intent was to poke fun at the expense of Fort Worth’s economic downturn — a hard winter had impacted the cattle trade — and imply that the downtown was so quiet that a wild animal could sleep undisturbed. Within a couple years, Fort Worth had recovered from its slump and turned the joke on its head. The panther became a symbol of the city’s singular character, with businesses and sports teams embracing it as a mascot.

Today, Panther Island Brewing pays fitting tribute to its home city and namesake feline. Located in a historic brewery on the banks of the Trinity, Panther Island Brewing has pursued a dedication to its products that never strays from an emphasis on friendship, craft and community.

Owner Ryan McWhorter began his journey to beer mastery as a home brewer. With the help of a committed group of taste-testers — also known as his friends — Ryan spent years at the perfection of his craft. An apprenticeship period saw Ryan as a volunteer at Teticolas, a brewery in Dallas, where he scrubbed floors, washed kegs and soaked up as much as he could about the trade.

“I knew that one day I wanted to open a brewery,” says Ryan. “Teticolas was kind enough to show me a little of their practices and the industrial brewing process. I spent a lot of time there, then bought a 10-gallon brewing system and moved into a warehouse in Haltom City.”

These efforts resulted in some early buzz and awards that attracted the intention of investors. Though the location has changed and the operation has grown, Ryan’s approach to craftsmanship remains the same. In fact, he still uses his original 10-gallon system to pilot specialty beers and seasonal offerings. Panther Island has also maintained a clear awareness of the symbolic connection between good brews and good times.

“Everyone here is a happy person,” says Kristi Wilson-Marks, Panther Island’s sales representative and bookings manager. “We’re all just thrilled that this gets to be our profession. The support of the community is what put us on the map, and we’re humbled and honored to have people drink our beer.”

This communal spirit and love of the city is what differentiates Panther Island from its competitors.

“We do our own thing and hope people like it,” says Ryan. “We love to hang out with our customers, and we try not to worry about unnecessary things and just brew good beer.”

If you haven’t had a chance to experience Panther Island’s brews for yourself, the brewery has specialty beer tastings on Sundays from 2 to 6 p.m.. You can also find Panther Island Brewing’s products at bars and restaurants around the Metroplex.