The new cans Uncle Billy’s Brewery and Smokehouse is rolling out in June feature a bearded likeness important to Austin’s history: the man the Barton Springs brewpub is named after, William “Uncle Billy” Barton.”
In 1837, Barton moved to the area and promoted the springs that would subsequently bear his name as a tourist attraction, recognizing the watering hole’s value. Now, he’s going to live on as a guitar-wielding, river-floating Austinite on the colorful cans designed by locally based Ampersand Agency.
But the re-branding is not the only big change coming to Uncle Billy’s. Two of the cans that are launching next month are new beers that head brewer Trevor Nearburg, who joined the brewpub last fall from Real Ale Brewing, decided to make the new year-round offerings, both in cans and on draft, because of their easy-drinking qualities, he said last night at a press preview event.
“The fact that you guys are here, drinking my beer, is surreal to me,” he said at the event.
Joining the Green Room IPA — one of the two previously canned Uncle Billy’s brews — is the Lazy Day Lager, a crisp golden brew featuring Vienna malts and noble hops, and the balanced, copper-colored Barton Springs Pale Ale. All three are on draft now at Uncle Billy’s and are launching at other bars throughout the next few weeks with special tastings. (This tap takeover at Black Star Co-op tonight kicks off the launch.)
The new beers and can design are releasing during a significant month for the brewpub: Uncle Billy’s recently celebrated its eighth anniversary, a milestone that’s called for an updated brand, along with many other changes, owner Rick Engel said in a press release.
“A lot has happened in those eight years,” he said in the press release. “We became the first brewpub in Texas to distribute our beers through a third party distributor to bars and restaurants. We recently renovated the brewpub and installed a new 20-barrel brewery system to more than triple our capacity. We have a new brewing team… All of these changes made the time right for us to update our brand too.”
Uncle Billy’s called in Ampersand Agency to help with the re-branding, deciding to tie in the fun Austin-centric names of the beers with the colorful character at the heart of the brewpub, Uncle Billy — himself updated with a bit of a modern twist. On the Green Room IPA can, he’s got a guitar in tow. On the Lazy Day Lager can, he’s tubing down one of the local rivers. And (perhaps best of all) on the Barton Springs Pale Ale can, he’s dressed in an old-fashioned, full-length striped swimsuit.
“We wanted our Billy to remind you of the things you love, which includes beer,” Ampersand’s Cindy Montgomery said last night.