The power of craft beer is so strong right now even dead ones are rising from their graves. Celis Brewery in Austin, Texas, originally founded by Belgian brewer Pierre Celis in 1992 is rejuvenating thanks to Christine Celis, Pierre’s daughter and partner in the original Celis Brewery. The rebirth will take place in a new 22,000-square-foot brewery in northwest Austin that is expected to start production in early Spring 2017.
Tell us about Celis
The original Celis Brewery, which was located on Highway 290, became enormously popular introducing Texans to Belgian witbier, a refreshing style for the Texas heat. The brewery and “Celis” brand was later sold to Miller Brewing Co. In 2001, the brewery closed its doors, while the brand lived on under new ownership.
Don’t call it a comeback!
Well, maybe call it a comeback. Now, the brand has found its way home with Ms. Celis having reacquired the “Celis” trademark from the then-current domestic and international rights owners, Total Beverage Solution (TBS) and Craftbev International Amalgamated.
“TBS is pleased to be able to help reunite the family with the brand,” said President and CEO of TBS, Dave Pardus.
Sushil Tyagi, president of Craftbev, who had originally acquired the Celis brand from Michigan Brewing Co. and had retained international rights until now said, “We worked for years for this day to come when Celis is restored to its hometown, and we look forward to helping further expand Celis beers around the world.”
“Rebuilding the Celis Brewery has been a labor of love that has taken me many years to accomplish,” said Ms. Celis. “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. This new brewery has the capacity to brew more than 50,000 barrels per year, including Pierre Celis’ recipes from both the original Celis Brewery and his earlier days in Belgium. It’s an honor to carry on my family’s brewing legacy with my father’s original 1965 recipes using the proprietary yeast from Belgium.”
Original beers from original brewing team
Celis Brewery will not only brew the original Belgian recipes, but it will do so with members of the brewing team from the original Celis Brewery. Led by Christine Celis, the team will include the master brewer and the Belgian brew engineer who designed the new brewery. Daytona Camps, daughter of Ms. Celis, will also join the brewing team.
And maybe the most touching part of this entire tale: A centerpiece of the original Celis Brewery, its massive copper kettle, was sold along with the original brewery and moved out of state. It has since made the journey back to Texas to be reunited with the family and will be used as a beautiful bar in the new brewery’s taproom. We aren’t ashamed to say we shed a tear reading that.
The new Celis Brewery is rapidly taking shape with the recent installation of a 50-HL BrauKon brewing system. The packaging line and fermenters are scheduled to arrive later this month, while construction of the taproom continues. To preserve brewing history, Celis Brewery has shipped the historic brewing equipment used by Mr. Celis in Belgium to make his famous witbier. The equipment arrived in Austin in December 2016 and will be on display at the Celis Brewery in 2017.