Thirsty Planet Brewing Co. Locked Out of New Taproom

Dispute with landlords has ripple effect on Austin’s beverage scene

Thirsty Planet co-owners, Mike Haiges and Brian Smittle in 2010. (Photo by John Anderson)

Austin’s craft beer community suffered a blow on August 7 with the abrupt lockout of Thirsty Planet Brewing Co. (TPBC) from its new facility, allegedly for back rent owed to its landlord, Thirsty Property LLC. The facility, which functioned both as a taproom and distribution center, opened on April 22.

Also affected by the sudden suspension of activities are SoCo Homebrew, which shared a portion of the building; Meridian Hive and Argus Cidery, who partnered with TPBC as their co-packer/manufacturer; and Richard’s Rainwater and Weird Tea, who used the facility as a distribution hub.

Thirsty Planet was formed in the summer of 2009 by Brian Smittle (president and founder) and Mike Haiges (co-owner). The brewery is best known for its amber ale, Thirsty Goat, which has been a core offering on tap walls in Austin and beyond. TPBC had been working on moving its operations from Circle Drive, off of Highway 290, to the now-shuttered facility at 8201 S. Congress since 2017.

Meridian Hive’s CEO Cayce Rivers released a statement on August 12 detailing their position in the dispute, having found themselves unable to continue on their production schedule. Rivers wrote:

“I want to assure you that we are fully committed to resolving this situation and finding a way to bring our products back to you. I have personally been engaged in discussions with both parties involved, striving to mediate and seek a resolution that would allow us to resume production without further delay.”

SoCo Homebrew has found a temporary home just north of their former one, offering pick-up orders from 4-6pm Monday through Friday at Last Stand Brewing on 7601 S. Congress.

Representatives from Thirsty Planet did not respond to requests for comment on the situation.

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Thirsty Planet, Thirsty Goat, Meridian Hive, SoCo Homebrew, Richard's Rainwater, Weird Tea

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