With new breweries popping up all the time, buzz over Texas’ booming craft beer scene has been consistent over the last few years. But Austin’s newest taproom is cutting through the noise with a reboot of what the founders say was Austin’s oldest craft brewery.
Christine Celis, daughter of Pierre Celis, who founded Austin’s original Celis Brewery, is reviving her family’s legacy with a new brewery under the same name.
Pierre began making witbier (white beer) in 1996 in the town of Hoegaarden, Belgium. Christine says her father exported his beer to Texas and got to know Austin while doing business.
“My dad would come on a regular basis to Austin and check out the whole state and see, okay, there is no brewery here,” Christine says. “People really are enjoying craft beer. Why don’t I start a brewery here?”
Pierre opened Celis Brewery in 1992, introducing Belgian-style witbier to Central Texans for the first time. The influential craft brewing operation sold to Miller Brewing Co. in 2000 and shut down the following year.
When her father passed away in 2011, Christine says she was determined to bring his witbier back to Texas. She still had Celis Brewery’s original proprietary yeast strain, which the family traces back to the 18th century. Christine is joined by 23-year-old daughter, Daytona Camps, who is also a craft brewer.
“I want to continue his legacy. I want to make this great beer that people have been missing,” Christine says. “I wanted to bring back also history to Austin. We started here first, and I want to bring it back.”
The new Celis Brewing taproom opens Friday in a former flooring shop at 10001 Metric Blvd. Christine plans to begin selling bottled witbier in August, followed by cans, as well as sales in Dallas and San Antonio.
“I’m totally happy,” Christine Celis says. “I feel fulfilled. Now I am really on the reach of starting this great company. I want to go nationwide eventually – that’s the goal. I want to ship a little bit back to Belgium as well, so it’s then full circle.”
Written by Rachel Rascoe.