Celis revives Austin’s original craft brewery

Christine Celis will use her father's antique brewery equipment for special brews at Flemish Fox Brewery and Craftworkers.

Christine Celis will use her father's antique brewery equipment for special brews at Flemish Fox Brewery and Craftworkers.

Christine Celis’ roots in the Austin craft beer scene run deep.

“I was born and raised in a brewery,” she said.

Celis’ father, Pierre, opened Austin’s first craft brewery, Celis Brewery, in 1992. Celis is aiming to carry on her father’s legacy with Flemish Fox Brewery and Craftworks slated to open at 2013 Rutland Drive in 2017.

The brewery will operate in partnership with Detroit-based Atwater Brewery which plans to use the facility to fulfill orders from Texas and other western states, she said.

Pierre was the original founder of Hoegaarden Brewery in a town of the same name in Belgium. The Belgian beer was distributed in the U.S. by an Austin broker whom Pierre often visited, Celis said. Pierre told Celis he enjoyed Texas because people spoke slowly and he could understand them, she said.

“One evening, he asked me if I wanted to live in Austin,” Celis said. “And that was it.”

In 1990, the family bought land in the city and in 1992, Pierre opened the doors to Celis Brewery.

The family eventually sold the brewery to Miller Brewing Company. Celis said she no longer owns the Celis Brewery name but tagged her new brewery Flemish Fox after her father's nickname. Flemish also references Celis' and Pierre’s native tongue.

Celis said she plans to brew both her father’s traditional recipes—some of which date back to the 1400s—as well as new, innovative beers. Her daughter, Daytona Camps, will be one of the brewers at Flemish Fox, she said.

Celis revives Austin’s original craft brewery A copper kettle from from Pierre Celis’ original brewery in Hoegaarden, Belgium will be shipped to Austin.[/caption]

Celis is raising funds to ship her father’s original brewing equipment from a warehouse in Antwerp, where it risks being lost or destroyed, to the new Austin facility. She said that although she plans to use the equipment occasionally for collaborations and special brews, it will mostly play an aesthetic role in the brewery that will double as a museum devoted to her father and their heritage.

“I think people are going to get a kick out of it,” she said of the new facility.

Celis said Pierre, as a founding member of Austin’s craft brewing scene, "would be all smiles" if he could see the growth of the industry today.

She said she plans to retrofit the new 27,000-square-foot brewery at the corner of Metric Boulevard and Rutland to look like Pierre’s brewery in Hoegaarden. According to a news release, the brewery will include a spacious tasting room and serve as an entertainment venue.

“Everything is just falling into place,” she said. “So I know it’s the right time to get this brewery started.”
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