AUSTIN, Texas – Flemish Fox Brewery & Craftworks, a new craft brewery founded by Christine Celis, and Atwater Brewery, Detroit’s largest and fastest growing craft brewer, have entered an agreement to brew beer in a new collaboration brewery in Austin, Texas. Flemish Fox Brewery & Craftworks has acquired property in northwest Austin to develop the new brewery, which will produce beer for both Atwater Brewing and Flemish Fox Brewery & Craftworks. The brewery will have up to 27,000 square feet of usable space which will be completely refurbished to create a brewery with a capacity of more than 60,000 barrels per year. The brewery is expected to be in production by the first quarter of 2017.
The three-acre property, located in close proximity to other craft breweries, is expected to become a popular destination for Austin residents and tourists. In addition to the state-of-the art production facility, the brewery will incorporate a spacious tasting room, an outdoor beer garden with an entertainment venue, a retail shop and a museum featuring historic brewing equipment and craft brewing memorabilia. Pierre Celis, famed Belgian brewer and founder of Celis Brewing in Austin, Texas, resurrected the witbier style in Hoegaarden, Belgium. The brewery will host outdoor concerts and festivals as well.
“This new brewing facility in Austin furthers our mission: Atwater Brewery. Born in Detroit. Raised Everywhere,” says Mark Rieth, Atwater owner. “We’ve been very careful when it comes to growing our production footprint, but this opportunity was too good to pass. Texas is an incredibly important market for Atwater and the opportunity to work alongside Flemish Fox and the Celis family offers meaningful benefits.”
Widely recognized for its brands in the true heritage of German lagers, Atwater Brewery has seen double digit growth over each of the past five years with sales paced by its Vanilla Java Porter and Dirty Blonde. Atwater distributes to 21 U.S. states, plus Canada. Production from the new [business name] will help Atwater fulfill orders from Texas as well as a number of western states.
“We love the craft beer business and we love having the opportunity to ‘bottle our enthusiasm’ every day. As a city that shares our passion for the craft beer culture, Austin is the type of vibrant community we sought for our first brewing operation outside of Michigan,” says Rieth. “In addition to our core brands, we’ll also brew unique brands to be distributed exclusively in Texas. We look forward to rolling up our sleeves and getting to work.”
Flemish Fox Brewery & Craftworks, under Christine Celis’ leadership, will brew original Celis family recipes while incorporating some of the same yeast strains, methods and processes used at Pierre Celis’ first brewery in Hoegaarden, Belgium to revive witbier in Austin, Texas. It is the mission of Flemish Fox Brewery & Craftworks to re-introduce the beloved craft beers which were the inspiration for so many of the popular styles and brands that exist today in the craft beer industry in Texas and throughout the United States.
Flemish Fox Brewery & Craftwork has assembled a team of seasoned brewing experts including Bert Van Hecke, the brewery engineer, a seasoned master brewer with experience at Celis Brewery, and Christine Celis’ daughter Daytona Camps, also a brewer.
“Brewing is a part of my being,” says Christine Celis, founder of Flemish Fox Brewery & Craftworks. “I’m absolutely thrilled to be opening this new brewery to carry on my father’s legacy of brewing legendary beers. Not only will we brew beer as it was in the 1900s, but also will introduce new, innovative beer styles that both craft beer enthusiasts and casual beer drinkers will love. We will focus on quality and consistency as we have in the past to produce superior quality hand-crafted beers and ales. Flemish Fox will be a venue for great experiences, craft beer discovery, and parties with a Belgian brown café and taproom, spacious beer garden, and live music venue, just like our last brewery.”
Not only will Flemish Fox Brewery & Craftworks brew the original witbier recipe that Pierre Celis made in Brouwerij De Kluis in Hoegaarden Belgium, but it will also house his original brewing equipment. The historic open mash tun, two copper kettles, an open fermenter, heat exchanger, and coolship will be shipped from Belgium to be on display in the new brewery. Flemish Fox Brewery will also brew the original Belgian recipes from Pierre Celis in the restored equipment on special occasions.
Preserving this extraordinary piece of brewing heritage is a monumental task that comes with a hefty price tag. To cover the cost, Flemish Fox has initiated a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. Beer enthusiasts are invited to have a hand in preserving the witbier brewing heritage with contributions to fund bringing the equipment from Belgium to Texas.