Before Hot Springs National Park became a protected area, people were already flocking to this corner of Arkansas to reap the benefits of the spring water. As the area became more popular, crude bath huts turned into businesses that offered therapeutic dips in the thermal water, believed to treat rheumatism and a host of other ailments.
Today, however, locals are thinking beyond bathing. Park officials announced last week that the Superior Bathhouse, part of the area's famous Bathhouse Row, will be transformed into a microbrewery.
The building, originally constructed in 1916, offered hydrotherapy, mercury, and massage services to early park visitors. It closed in 1983 and underwent renovation in 2008. Now—almost 100 years from the time it first opened—the former bathhouse will host a microbrewery run by Vapor Valley Spirits, Inc.
The park’s contract with the brewers will allow Vapor Valley to brew and distill both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, including beer, spirits, root beer and seltzer. The company will use the local thermal water to make the drinks.