'A cool old history': Lazarus Brewing to open location in former I Luv VIdeo space
A local brewery is expanding into a second location on Airport Boulevard, picking up where two Austin mainstays left off.
Lazarus Brewing Co. opened its doors in 2016 on East Sixth Street. Now, founder Christian Cryder says he plans to have an additional operation up and running by nthe summer, and it will be in a familiar space: the former I Luv Video and ColdTowne Theatre building at 4803 Airport Blvd.
“We happened to be in the right place at the right time,” Cryder says of landing the new spot.
Everything about the new location is going to be slightly bigger, he says — bigger brewhouse, bigger kitchen, bigger taproom, bigger patio space. Cryder hopes the second Lazarus location will feel similar to the original brewery but “new and fresh,” with more taps and an expanded kitchen menu.
Lazarus currently brews a bevy of seasonal beers, as well as flagships like 40 Days & 40 Nights and Walks on Water (both American IPAs), Prodigal Pils (a German pilsner) and Amandus (a Belgian strong gold). The Sixth Street location also has an espresso bar and serves tacos, tortas, rice bowls and other snacks.
The company's plan originally called for opening the second spot by December or January, but various challenges — the pandemic, the city permitting process and supply-chain slowdowns — have pushed the spin-off a few months.
Lazarus is a family-and-friends operation, says Cryder, a former pastor who also worked in the software industry. His wife, Marilyn, roasts coffee for the business. His daughter, Rebekah Daniels, is Lazarus’ head brewer. And the brewery’s general manager, Marcus TenHarmsel (formerly of Hopfields), is a longtime family friend whom they’ve known since he was 10. “We have a lot of staff that have worked with us for the whole time we've been open,” Cryder adds.
The Cryders came to Austin from Montana, and the second location of Lazarus is their latest effort to put down roots in town. They leased the original location but are purchasing the new one, a “chance to control our destiny and have something that we can keep in the family for a long time.”
“My goal is to create a business my daughter can run for 20 years after I’m done,” Cryder says.
He feels a connection to the previous occupants of the brewery’s new space, which he calls “mom-and-pop" passion projects. Cryder hopes that Lazarus can carry the local-business torch.
Continuing coverage:As Austin’s I Luv Video closes, owner tries to keep film library alive
I Luv Video owner Conrad Bejarano announced last September that his video store — the last of its kind in Austin — would shut its doors due to both the pandemic and Austin’s real estate market. The store's landlord, looking to liquidate, notified him that the property was on the market in summer 2020, Bejarano told the American-Statesman last year, and I Luv Video could not afford to buy the building.
The video store was founded in 1985 on Menchaca Road and had operated a store on Airport Boulevard since 1986. I Luv Video’s neighbor on the property, ColdTowne Theater, also was displaced and is still without a physical performance space, but the performing arts company is now active through online classes and content.
"Trying to figure out how to make it in a place like Austin is really challenging,” Cryder says. “So the opportunity to kind of pass the baton … and still be a family business, be locally owned and operated in a cool building with a cool old history, is a great opportunity.”
Cryder says that Lazarus also might bring back its “Patron Saint” program with the new location, which has been sold out at the original brewery for a while. As part of the program, customers can spend $1,000 and get a dedicated glass, which earns them their first drink on the house at every visit.
The brewery doesn’t do distribution — you’ve got to swing by to take a sip. Cryder hopes that the second location of Lazarus will become a place where folks who live nearby can meet up multiple days a week.
“We all moved to Austin because we love Austin,” Cryder says. “Neighborhoods change when everyone loves Austin.”
Lazarus is about intentionally keeping neighborhood gathering spaces alive, he says.