02 Nov

Freetail Brewing Co. to expand! (Beer Bloggers Conference post No. 10)

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Just received a press release that confirms that 2-year-old, San Antonio-based Freetail Brewing Co. is officially considering where to plot its next location: somewhere in San Antonio, Houston, New Braunfels or San Marcos. The release said the company is working with United Commercial Realty to find the right spot; site selection and fundraising are expected to take six to eight months, with the estimated $3 million facility commencing operations and creating 50 new jobs in as soon as a year.

“Don’t expect an exact replica of our location on 1604.  We’ve looked at some historical buildings with unique character in interesting locations,” said Scott Metzger, Freetail’s founder, in the statement. “For this one, look for an expanded menu and dynamic ambiance, but one that still embodies the Freetail spirit.”

Metzger was scoping out the downtown area during October’s Houston Beer Week,  led by the lovely and talented Heather Hinzie of Downtown.org. I tried to get a sense of how he felt about the market. He told me, “I wouldn’t open in Austin.”

Expect a lot of Texas craft beer fans to go crazy over this news. Freetail has a large following, having been named best brewpub in Texas by BeerAdvocate.com. It also acts like a brewpub or microbrewery in a more sophisticated craft beer market, pushing the envelope on flavor profiles, holding special release beer parties, and putting new recipes on regularly.  I know that Scott is pretty ambitious, and if and when Texas laws ever change, he will be among the first local brewpubs to try and distribute off premise.

In the meantime, the only way he could spread his seed to us Houstonites is via another location. I asked him about our chances.

“At this point I would say that all four cities have an equal opportunity,” he said. ” I know you are specifically curious about Houston.  We toured some wonderful spaces that I think would make amazing, one-of-a-kind brewpubs.  Heather and the staff at the Downtown District are doing an incredible job of piquing my interest in Houston.

“The challenge is the physical distance from San Antonio, so it is logistically disadvantaged compared to the other cities, but that isn’t a disadvantage that is necessarily insurmountable.”

On the eve of its two-year anniversary, expansion news wasn’t the pub’s only announcement. There will also be a weekend of debauchery to feliz its cumpleanos from Nov. 26 – 28, which will include 30 taps of Freetail beer; a four-pack release of their Belgian-style witbiers (rye, spirulina, Jamaica and prickly pear); a Belgian dubbel bottle release (“Two”); and lots of music on the patio.

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