After 13 years in business, a staple of Barton Springs Road’s restaurant row abruptly closed on October 21. With no public warning, Uncle Billy's Smokehouse & Brewery announced via Facebook that it is moving to the Texas Hill Country.
A media statement from managing partner Bob Leggett confirmed the closure and said the company is moving its operations to Dripping Springs over the next few weeks. Although the new location has been secured, the company did not release the address.
According to Leggett, the move will allow the business to shift focus by expanding its production of distilled spirits and ready-to-drink canned cocktails. The public opening will occur sometime in early 2020.
The Dripping Springs facility will include a tasting room and selections from the South Austin restaurant's current barbecue offerings. A full menu will be released at a later date.
Little Woodrows and Ski Shores Cafe owner Rick Engel founded Uncle Billy’s as a brewpub in 2006. In 2017, he sold the brand to Leggett, the founder of beer importer Artisanal Imports. The move was a necessity to grow the business. Texas laws do not allow owners of retail establishments to also own production breweries as part of its three-tier system.
Beer, however, has been on the back burner since early 2019, when Uncle Billy’s ceased production operations at Celis Brewery. Though the Barton Springs restaurant still made small batches for to-go sales, the core beers have since disappeared from local shelves.
A rep for Uncle Billy’s tells CultureMap that he is unaware of any plans for a brewery at the Dripping Springs site.