Beerland Texas, a garage-rock haven on Red River Street, has been sold to an undisclosed buyer. According to a news release about the sale, the club will remain open during the transition in ownership and shows currently booked at the club will continue as scheduled.
The new owner's plans for the space are undecided at this point, according to the news release.
Employees and fans of the club expressed shock about the news on social media Tuesday. By late morning, an anonymous post attributed to Beerland employees began circulating on Facebook. The post alleges that Beerland employees on Monday night issued a letter to club owner Richard Lynn informing him of plans for a general strike by club bookers, door staff, bartenders and managers.
"We have been dealing with our paychecks bouncing since SXSW and there has been absolutely no transparency on the owner's part. For months we've been working solely on the vague promise that we'll get paid for our labor," the post reads.
According to the Facebook post, the employees found out about the club sale after reading about it on Austin360.com. The American-Statesman has reached out to Lynn for a comment on these allegations.
The club was originally founded by Randall and Donya Stockton in 2001 and sold to Lynn's Austin Jukebox Holdings at the beginning of 2018. In its 18 years in business, the club became a staple to the city's indie rock and punk scenes, becoming a launching pad for popular acts like A Giant Dog. (The band returned to its old stomping grounds for a four-week stint in February 2018, and a Statesman panel of critics and industry insiders named the gig Austin's Residency of the Year in the Austin360 Awards.)
In a statement in the original news release announcing the sale, Lynn said he was a "devoted fan and customer of Beerland" before he bought it. Under Lynn's direction, the club maintained the Stocktons' focus on emerging bands but also added an Austin Jukebox series that brought high-profile acts like Pere Ubu, Kim Gordon and the Chills into the space for intimate appearances.
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"I've decided it's time for me turn over ownership to a very astute businessman to allow myself the time I need to pursue other passions, including continuing my work with local non-profits as well as taking on a more hands-on approach working with my record label, Super Secret Records, and its associated imprint labels, and various other business interests," Lynn said in the statement.
"The club will be in the capable hands of new ownership and I know they and their team will put forth great effort to provide a fun and safe space for customers and musicians," he said in the statement.
According to the news release, the full transfer of ownership of Beerland will take a few weeks in order to comply with various tax and TABC regulations and laws, although day-to-day management of the club might be taken over by the new owner and their staff sooner.
The Facebook post attributed to Beerland employees called on community members to respect their planned strike.
"We ask that the community stand in solidarity with our Beerland family and do not cross our picket line by attending, playing or working shows until we are paid what we're owed," the post reads.