Oskar Blues Marketing Director Chad Melis Talks Austin Brewery

With an Austin brewery on the horizon, we get details from Oskar Blues Marketing Director Chad Melis

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The Oskar Blues Tasty Weasel Taproom in Longmont, CO

It’s been a few weeks since the big news dropped that seminal can-friendly Colorado brewery Oskar Blues  plans to open a brewery and taproom here in Austin, TX in 2016. (Check out our original post for the full press release.)

The brewery, which will be located at 10420 Metric Blvd., will be housed in a 50,000 square foot building with 5,000 square feet devoted to a taproom and live music space which will bear the same name as the brewery’s Colorado and North Carolina taprooms–Tasty Weasel. Initial brewing capacity will be 30,000 bbls a year, with a future build-out capacity that could exceed 100,000 bbls.

After the news broke, we were eager to learn more about why Oskar Blues chose Austin, how the taproom would operate, how the brewery would fit in with the Austin community, and some nerdy logistcs, so we caught up with Oskar Blues Marketing Director Chad Melis via email for a quick Q&A.

Check it out…

 

Q&A with Oskar Blues Marketing Director Chad Melis

Bitch Beer: Can you tell me a little bit about how the decision to open a brewery/taproom in a third market played out, and why you landed on Austin?

Chad Melis: Oskar Blues continues to look for ways to grow without losing the hands-on/grassroots feel that our culture thrives on. Instead of building a large beer factory, we’ve had a lot of fun and success engaging another town with our brewery in Brevard, NC.  The engagement with the community and building relationships in a place that we dig the culture and want to spend our time has been a big part of these decisions. Austin has a strong vibe that our Colorado home town and Brevard, NC also share.  We enjoy the quality of life, outdoor access, great music along with a strong existing and growing craft beer scene that we look forward to contributing to.

 

BB: How did you select the space/neighborhood for the brewery and what stage of planning/construction/licensing are you now in to gear up for an April 2016 opening?

CM: We’re full in the licensing/permitting and planning part of the process with the focus on moving dirt before the end of 2015.  The building is a great fit for us. A place to create backstage access and a quality hang for beer drinkers in a growing part of town.

 

BB: What states/territories will the beer brewed in Austin supply?

CM: Texas and a few surrounding states initially. The long-term goal would be to exclusively brew the beer for Texans, but we have a long way to go to have them drink that much Oskar Blues brew.  Initially the beer will go to surrounding states like Louisiana & Arkansas and potentially Mississippi and Oklahoma in the future.

 

BB: Texas laws currently pose some unfortunate challenges to being able to operate this taproom the same way you operate your Colorado and North Carolina taprooms since Texas doesn’t allow beer-to-go sales from production breweries (whether that’s cans, growlers, crowlers, etc.) Do you plan to join some of the legislative efforts in Texas to change this, or are you happy to just focus on draft beer in the taproom?

CM: As I said before, we keep doing things that we enjoy doing and are fun. Brewing beer is fun. Working with CAN’d Aid Foundation to support the community is fun.  Legislation isn’t that fun for us.  We’ll brew the beer, we’ll let the politicians make the legislative sausage.

 

BB: You mention in the press release wanting to stay small and engaged with the communities you sell beer in/like to spend time in. Can you tell me about how you see Oskar Blues fitting into the Austin community and culture, and what it’ll mean to have a facility here?

CM: Initially we’ll be hiring local, building events and contributing to the existing craft beer and music scene. The CAN’d Aid Foundation is another way we see collaborations with the community come together so we’ll see what role they play within the Austin culture.

 

BB: On that note, any plans to brew taproom exclusives/ TX market exclusives, or collaborate with local breweries and businesses on beers and events?

CM: There will be specialties in the Tasty Weasel Texas Taproom for sure.  We’ve had a ton of Texas brewers stop through the brewery during GABF and have had a lot of talks over beers about collaboration opportunities.  There is a ton of fun to come.

 

BB: Finally, for people who have never visited an Oskar Blues brewery before, what can they expect? 

CM: The Tasty Weasel Taprooms are made to share our space with beer drinkers, complete access. We drink the coffee brewed in the taproom, we have meetings there and it basically serves as our lunchroom and place to hang.  Expect to be sitting next to a brewer, taking a tour with them or sharing a beer with us.

-Caroline

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