The facility on Patterson Industrial Drive originated in late 2019 as a place to make the company’s line of hard seltzer products. But by October 2020, owner Bill Gillies and his team began operating a taproom to brew and sell their own beers.
“You’ve got to understand, there’s two sides of the business,” said Ryan Shramek, director of brewing operations. “There’s Willard’s Brewery, and then Big Country Hard Seltzer. We kind of operate two separate brands.”
Shramek said the Willard’s line of beers is distributed locally to stores and restaurants including Anchor Bar and Slapbox Pizza in Round Rock and The Brewtique in Cedar Park.
“When we started out, the beer was mainly for the taproom, but we’ve got so many people that like it that we started self-distributing our beer,” Taproom Manager George Garcia said.
Shramek said there are several popular beers created at the brewery, but the top seller remains the flagship product, Willard’s Original Amber.
“We tend to stay true to historic styles rather than go with experimental styles,” Shramek said. “Not to say we do that 100%, but you’re not going to find [something like] a blueberry cupcake sour here on our beer list.”
Willard’s offers traditional staple beers, but also has seasonal options. Brews have whimsical names such as Fistful of Fury Hazy IPA, Letter Jacket All-American Wheat Ale, French K.I.S.S. Saison Du Pont and Good Vibrations Session Pale Ale.
The company will also unveil a rebrand in November that will see new designs for its beer cans but still keeping the Willard’s Brewery name, Shramek said.
In addition to the line of beers, Willard’s offers Big Country hard seltzers and house-made cocktails and operates an in-house food trailer. The menu includes grilled cheese; beer brats; puffy tacos and smash burgers, which are the most popular menu item, Head Chef Austin Crouch said.
“The first menu was a little bit Cubano—Cuban-inspired—and then we just kind of changed it this last year,” Crouch said. “We wanted to be a little bit more beer-friendly.”
Crouch said Willard’s initially offered Auzzy’s Famous Smash Burger on Thursday nights only; however, the burger became popular they eventually added it as a daily menu item.
Garcia said the main company goal is to maintain the brewery as a neighborhood taproom and simultaneously expand the hard seltzer and beer distribution nationwide.
For the team at Willard’s, the two goals are not mutually exclusive.
“What we’re going to see here is continued innovation in the taproom and then expanded distribution on premises and off premises with our five core beers,” Shramek said.
2400 Patterson Industrial Drive, Pflugerville
Hours: Wed.-Thu. 4-10 p.m., Fri.-Sat. noon-10 p.m., Sun. noon-8 p.m., closed Mon.-Tue.