Austin TX’s Uncle Billy’s Announces Transition To Production Brewery

02 June 2017

imageFrom Uncle Billy’s:

Uncle Billy’s Brewery is expanding its production capacity significantly by having its beer brewed at the new Celis Brewery in north Austin. The move to add a second brewing location will allow Uncle Billy’s to increase its beer production to satisfy growing demand for the brand’s wide variety of craft beers and for regional distribution.



Beginning in 2013, Uncle Billy’s began selling its beer in stores, bars and restaurants following a change in the Texas beer laws governing the off premise sale of beer by brewpubs. Uncle Billy’s is one of only a small number of brewpubs in Texas that sells its beers on premise and distributes kegged and packaged beer to other retailers. This strategy has allowed Uncle Billy’s to reach its fan base beyond its four walls at its original location in South Austin, Texas.



Uncle Billy’s expanded its year-round line-up of core beer brands to include Barton Springs Pale Ale and Lazy Day Lager, as well as its flagship The Green Room IPA. Its beers have been wildly popular, and the brewpub installed new equipment to expand from a 10-barrel system to a 20-barrel system in 2014 to keep up with the demand.



Soon later, Uncle Billy’s installed an additional 80-barrel fermenter to satisfy increasing demand for its Lazy Day Lager in the market. Uncle Billy’s is now one of the top distributing brewpubs in Texas. It has maxed-out the capacity of its brewery producing nearly 4,000 barrels a year, necessitating the need to change its designation as a retail brewery to become a production brewery. This change to a production brewery allows Uncle Billy’s to expand its brewing operations at another location in compliance with the current Texas beer laws.



To help oversee the transition of the business from a retail brewpub to a production brewery, Bob Leggett, a beer industry veteran,  has become the managing partner/owner of Uncle Billy’s. He is uniquely qualified to lead the distribution expansion and assist in the brewery’s continued growth. Leggett, a lifetime Austinite, has been active in the beer industry for more than 40 years.  His accomplishments include being one of the first in the U.S. to import Belgium beers in 1977, investing in “Shiner of Austin,” one of the first Shiner Bock distributors, and the first to distribute Modelo and Corona in the U.S. Leggett has established other distributorships across Texas and in 2001, he founded Artisanal Imports, which has become one of the largest importers of Belgium beers in the United States.



“Uncle Billy’s didn’t have the capacity to meet its demand in Austin, let alone the rest of the state,” says Bob Leggett, Uncle Billy’s owner. “Now that Uncle Billy’s beer will be brewed at the new state of the art facility at Celis Brewery, we can be everywhere in Austin, the region and eventually across the U.S. Austinites will continue to be able to enjoy Uncle Billy’s year-round beers, specialty brews, and seasonals at the original Barton Springs Road location and Texans will now be able to enjoy our beers in many more places across the state.”



“We are thrilled to have Uncle Billy’s beer brewed  at Celis Brewery,” says Trevor Nearburg, head brewer at Uncle Billy’s Brewery. “This represents more than just a move to become a production brewery, it is also the continuation of a great relationship with Christine Celis, who led sales and distribution of Uncle Billy’s beer from 2014 to 2016. Celis Brewery will definitely become a destination for beer lovers with its copper kettle tap room, future beer garden, museum and event venue.”





The significant growth of the brewery comes as the iconic Austin brewpub celebrates its 11th anniversary. Uncle Billy’s, founded in 2006, was named for Texas settler, William “Uncle Billy” Barton, who established a homestead on the land on the west bank of the Colorado River and the mouth of Spring Creek, the location that is now home to Barton Springs Pool. The name was chosen as a reflection of Barton’s independent spirit, and the laid-back vibe of Austin and in particular the brewpub’s neighborhood that includes Barton Springs Pool, Zilker Park and Lady Bird Lake.



The change in designation from retail brewpub to production brewery to abide by Texas beer laws brings the opportunity for Uncle Billy’s to serve more of its popular craft beers on tap at the original location on Barton Springs Road. By serving only Uncle Billy’s beer, the south Austin brewery frees up tap space to serve creative, new experimental and seasonal beers that will only be available on tap at that location.

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