Bee Cave resident Brian Smittle, president and founder of Thirsty Planet Brewing Co., said his love of beer stems from his college days studying in England in a house with a pub in the basement.
“I did a lot of studying down there,” he said.
He came back to the states, switched his major to business administration and ended up in Colorado, where he said he “stumbled” into a job at a local brewery in the ’90s. Since then, the craft beer market has grown, he said.
Brian Smittle, president and founder of Thirsty Planet Brewing Co., visits the tasting room.[/caption]
Smittle came to Austin and opened Thirsty Planet with co-owner Mike Haiges in July 2009 on Circle Drive off Hwy. 290. The brewery aims to make beer that is full, flavorful and accurately described, he said.
“If it says ‘pale ale’ on the label, we want it to be a pale ale. We want to make sure a stout is a stout and a pilsner is a pilsner,” he said.
The brewery offers tours of the facility and tasting room on Saturdays. By January 2017, Thirsty Planet plans to move to 8201 S. Congress Ave.—the former space of the Capital Area Food Bank, Smittle said.
“I looked everywhere, and I was hoping to stay in South Austin,” he said. “There’s a sense of community down here.”
Thirsty Planet produces beers for customers in Travis, Hays and Williamson counties and began seeking a new space that would allow it to expand its distribution to include 11 more counties in 2017. Smittle said he hopes the company will be able to bottle Buckethead and Yellow Armadillo beers, debut two more year-round beers, increase seasonal offerings and triple its staff at the new facility.
So far the preparations have been somewhat overwhelming, Smittle said, but having a great team on board has kept it exciting.
“[We joke that] there’s not a lot of adult supervision here, and I try not to provide too much,” he said.
Operations will move in 2017 from the Circle Drive facility, which opened in 2009.[/caption]
About the beers
At its 10,000-square-foot Circle Drive headquarters, Thirsty Planet produces three year-round American-style beers on tap, founder Brian Smittle said.
The company began bottling its flagship beer, Thirsty Goat, in January 2015. Its beers include:
• Buckethead, an India pale ale
• Yellow Armadillo, a light wheat beer
• Thirsty Goat, an amber ale
Other beers, including the Pale Head pale ale and Black Bucket India pale ale are offered on a seasonal basis. When the company moves in 2017, it will add more seasonal beers, he said.
Thirsty Planet is selling Barks for Beers glasses for a charity fundraiser.[/caption]
Thirsty Planet Brewing Co. selects a charity of the month and has helped a variety of causes, from Austin-based nonprofits to organizations that work to build water wells in Africa, Smittle said.
“[Giving back] is the right thing to do,” he said.
In May the company is participating in local nonprofit Divine Canines’ Barks for Beers monthlong event to raise funds for efforts to train therapy dogs for children and adults. Beer lovers can buy a $20 Barks for Beers glass and visit 20 participating breweries for a free pint at each, he said.
Thirsty Planet Bewing Co., 11160 Circle Drive, Austin
512-579-0679 • www.thirstyplanet.net
Hours: Sat. 11 a.m.-3 p.m., closed Sun.-Fri.; room rentals by appointment