Thanks to the sweeping changes in Texas beer distribution laws, Uncle Billy’s Brew & Que will become the first brewpub in the state to have its beers distributed to other bars and restaurants.
The first place to offer an Uncle Billy’s beer on draft, the Green Room IPA, is the Little Woodrow’s on West Sixth Street, which will host a celebration on Friday starting at 3 p.m. with some of Uncle Billy’s smoked barbecue and, of course, plenty of the IPA. The Humbucker Helles, a German-style lager, will also be available for sipping, albeit in cans.
At the Little Woodrow’s event, State Senator Eddie Rodriguez and Mayor Lee Leffingwell will tap and serve up the IPA.
Uncle Billy’s has long planned for this type of expansion, announcing shortly after the laws passed in June that it intended to distribute its beers outside of the brewpub.
The transition kicked off in the fall, when a mobile canning company helped Uncle Billy’s to start rolling out cans of the two beers just before Austin City Limits Festival last year that the brewery-and-barbecue joint has seen sell-out onsite. Owner Rick Engel said new brewing equipment and other improvements are due early this summer, more than doubling the capacity from 2,000 barrels a year to between 4,000 and 5,000.
Plus, kegs of the Green Room and cans of both the Green Room and Humbucker will start popping up at other bars and restaurants around town in the coming weeks; keep an eye on the Uncle Billy’s website to find out what those are. Engel, who said it’s "overwhelming and exciting" to finally see the Uncle Billy’s logo elsewhere around Austin, also noted that the cans will eventually be found in stores, too.
The law that has made all this possible is SB 515, which grants Texas brewpubs the right to sell their beers to distributors and retailers (Uncle Billy’s is using Keg 1 distributors). Previously, brewpub beers could only be sold onsite, either in a pint glass to drink there or in a growler to take home.