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UPDATE: Austin’s Flying Saucer beer bar is closing on New Year’s Day

Arianna Auber

UPDATE: Don’t rule out Flying Saucer’s return to Austin in the future, co-owner Shannon Wynne said in a phone interview. 

He said that it’s been challenging to find a location that would be profitable, but “we’re hopeful.”

Wynne also said the ‘topsy-turvy legislation’ he referenced in his earlier statement about the bar’s closure was the 2013 beer law that allowed breweries to sell beer for on-premise consumption. The law has been in effect for a few years now, but retailers are feeling the burn of it more than ever, thanks to a skyrocketing number of breweries in Texas with taprooms offering beers you can only get there.

“Many beers that we helped nurture along the way became our competitors overnight. It’s just not been good for anyone that sells beer but doesn’t brew it,” he said.

EARLIER: One of Austin’s first bars to champion craft beer is closing at the start of the new year. 

Flying Saucer Draught Emporium, one of the first tenants of the Triangle mixed-use development, is calling on all of its faithful regulars, called Beerknurds, to help drain the taps by New Year’s Eve. At 815 W. 47th St., it has been at the Triangle since 2007 and has a 10-year lease that’s about to be up.

One of the owners of the beer bar, which has 15 other locations in the U.S., including six in Texas, noted in a press release that the current state of beer in Texas was one of the reasons for the closure.

“The landscape of the restaurant industry is changing rapidly across the nation, and unfortunately, the Texas beer industry was introduced to topsy-turvy legislation, which has harmed our Austin Saucer significantly, as well as hundreds of retailers across the state,” Flying Saucer co-owner Shannon Wynne said in the release.

As a result, he said, “the numbers at our current location just didn’t add up anymore, so we have begun seeking an atmosphere that is more conducive to making a profit.”

Among the ‘topsy-turvy legislation’ that Texas brewers faced this year was a bill that prohibits breweries of a certain size from running an on-site taproom. It means, among other things, that self-distributing breweries can only send out so much beer to market. Breweries were also dealt a further blow on Friday when a state appellate court overturned a judge’s ruling about distribution rights related to a 2013 beer law. 

It’s not clear how state legislation related to the beer industry affected the Flying Saucer and led to its Austin demise, but we have placed a call to Wynne for further comment. 

The members of Flying Saucer’s UFO Club (those regulars called Beerknurds) can pick up their plates and grab one last beer from 2 to 5 p.m. on Jan. 6, after the pub has closed to the rest of the public. Those who have been trying to earn a plate can still go for it at another location of their choice, according to the release.

Want one last event to say your good-byes at the Saucer? There’s an ugly holiday sweater contest, as well as holiday trivia, on Dec. 19. 

And don’t rule out a return for the beer bar chain: Flying Saucer’s owners love the Austin market.