AUSTIN (KXAN) — With new breweries popping up around Austin every few months, a new kid in town is technically one of the oldest.
For the past several years, Christine Celis, the daughter of Pierre Celis—founder of Austin’s first craft brewery, Celis Brewery—has been trying to reacquire the Celis brand and trademark after the family originally sold the brand to Miller Brewing Company in 2000. On Tuesday, Christine Celis announced that she secured the rights to the “Celis” trademark.
Last year, Christine launched Flemish Fox Brewery & Craftworks and joined forces with Detroit-based Atwater Brewery to acquire property in north Austin to launch a new brewery. While Flemish Fox will still be the name of the owner of the property, they will be doing business officially as Celis Brewery.
Pierre originally opened Celis Brewery in 1992, where he brought traditional Belgian wit beers to the Austin market. During the 90s, Christine helped grow the company by establishing distribution agreements and organizing promotional events at the brewery. At the time, the opening of Celis Brewery created a mini-renaissance for local craft beer.
The family decided to sell the company to Miller Brewing Company in 2000, which proceeded to shut the plant down one year later. Christine believes Miller Brewing Company didn’t understand the uniqueness of owning and operating a smaller beer brand.
In 2002, the Celis brand was acquired by Michigan Brewing Company, but when the company foreclosed, the name was sold to Craftbev, which turned around and sold the brand to Total Beverage Solution (TBS) in 2013. Because the Celis name was still actively being used by that company, Christine wasn’t able to legally use it… until now.
“TBS is pleased to be able to help reunite the family with the brand,” says President and CEO of TBS, Dave Pardus in a statement.
By having the original company name back, Christine says she’s excited to start brewing again at the new 22,000-square-foot facility.
“Rebuilding the Celis Brewery has been a labor of love that has taken me many years to accomplish. We have a new location and new state-of-the-art brewing equipment, but will brew the same great Celis beers like the famous Celis Wit and Celis Grand Cru, to name a few,” said Christine.
Late last year, Christine was able to raise enough money to transport her father’s original brewing equipment from Belgium to Austin. The historic cast iron open mash tun, two copper kettles, open fermenter, heat exchanger and coolship all made it safe and sound in December. The plan is to put the equipment into a special area of the brewery that will be similar to a functional museum.
The new Celis Brewery, located at the corner of Metric Boulevard and Rutland Drive, is quickly taking shape and they hope to start production in early spring. Once construction is complete, there will also be a taproom and outdoor beer garden.