One brewery that I certainly don’t expect to find these problems is the new Celis Brewery in Austin, which finally opened earlier this year. This Flemish beer specialist – glorious, robust yet refreshing and slightly sweet white in the Belgian tradition was, and is, their standard-bearer – is a re-boot of the famed Celis Brewery that brewed in Austin during the 1990s before succumbing to financial issues, selling out and then disappearing from the scene. Christine Celis, the daughter of the legendary Pierre Celis is heading the brewery this time. She worked at the initial one. Hopefully, the company will be better managed then before. And, even more, that beers taste as good as they did in the past. A friend in Austin reports that they are very good. Celis White and the Grand Cru were not Belgian-style beers; they were Belgian beers, just brewed in Texas. Unibroue in Quebec and Ommegang in Cooperstown, New York are current breweries that come close to that mantle, but are not as good as Celis was. Unfortunately, I don’t believe that the brewery expects to expand distribution to Houston this year. A brewery trip to Austin is calling.
Founder Pierre Celis of the original brewery was one of the world's greatest brewers, but he was not a great businessman, likely not even a decent businessman. Phenomenal brewer, though. Seemingly less so, his son-in-law and daughter, who actually ran the brewery. Though having excellent products is only one aspect of a successful business, it seems the other necessary parts were not in place, including a brewery that featured beautiful copper tanks from Belgium but was expensive to build for its capacity and difficult to expand. It also began operations brewing substantial amounts of a light lager beer, which was quite good, but whose comparatively long production time initially tied up too much of the brewery's capacity, and a VP and Chief of Operations (the son-in-law) who, reportedly, on at least one occasion, was so drunk during an important daytime business meeting that he urinated on himself to the consternation of his potential business partners. The deal fell through. Unfortunately, this was not a recipe for long-lasting success. I can only hope Celis 2.0 has much better success.