Austin bars find boost with Major League Soccer, Austin FC at a pivotal time

Austin FC

AUSTIN (KXAN) – On Austin FC gamedays, Circle Brewing Company brings the crowds.

“Once you see the band come out, it’s a party,” said Kevin Chung, a longtime soccer fan KXAN spoke with at the brewery’s Austin FC tailgate party on Sunday.

But the brewery itself says it wasn’t always like this.

“There was actually a time when we were wondering if we were going to keep this location,” said David Lopez, Distribution and Events Manager at Circle Brewing Company.

Then, Austin FC and Q2 Stadium moved in across the street.

“Once we heard the stadium was going to be here, we held onto it,” said Lopez. “We talked with the landlord and worked everything out.”

The pandemic hit and, like other bars and restaurants, Circle Brewing Company suffered. However, Lopez knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel in Major League Soccer. On days like Sunday, the business’ patience appears to have paid off, as trains dump hundreds of fans right on its property line.

“They come to the stadium, they see the tank and they stop in for a beer,” said Lopez.

Last Saturday, Austin FC’s home opener, Lopez says Circle Brewing Company had a record-breaking day for sales. That success is being felt by other bars, as people embrace going out again.

According to Texas Comptroller records, in May, Texans spent more than double the amount of money on alcohol than they did in February.

“Thankfully for these businesses, they need it coming out of COVID,” said Chung. “Especially for these breweries that have been struggling for awhile.”

Circle Brewing Company had to downsize during the pandemic. Now, not only has it brought staff back, it is hiring new bartenders and new sales staff.

“There’s been a lot of work going into just planning the parties, planning who we’re partnering with, talking to the stadium people, getting our product in the stadium,” said Lopez.

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