REAL ESTATE

5Qs with Gino Graul about site selection

BY Jennifer Setteducato

Husband and wife Jensen and Danneel Ackles opened Family Business Beer Company in Dripping Springs, Texas, this past January and have already experienced great success. Not even a year has passed and they have signed on to be the brewpub at St. Elmo Public Market, a 40,000-sq.-ft. mixed-use project that will open in Austin next fall. Chain Store Age asked general manager Gino Graul, Ackles’ brother and brewmaster, how Family Business went about selecting its first expansion site.

1. Tell us about Dripping Springs, Texas’s beer mecca.
“Mecca” is an appropriate term to use for the beer scene in Dripping Springs. In the last several years we’ve seen a number of quality breweries and brewpubs opening up in the Hill Country. This a win-win for not only the beer industry, but also the local economy which benefits from the increase in visitors. All of this is possible thanks to the hard work by members of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild and smart reform to Texas’ archaic beer laws.

2. In less than a year, Family Business Beer Company is a hit and is already expanding. Why South Austin and why the St. Elmo project?
It hasn’t been a year yet! It seems way longer! We chose South Austin because, much like Dripping Springs, there is a great energy there. Texans deserve quality and variety which are two standards our company pursues every day we come in to work. After many meetings with the developers of the St. Elmo Public Market, it was apparent we are very like-minded. We both want to create a unique experience for our patrons that continues to evolve and grow with the local community.

3. What features are you looking for in a potential site?
I think we found what we were looking for in the St. Elmo Public Market. For us, it’s a great location with an enthusiastic developer who wants to see the tenants thrive. It allows us to be closer to the Austin beer scene and provides Austinites daily access to our beer which we are very proud of.

4. Within 10 years, according to JLL, the share of F&B space at malls will jump 12 percentage points to 26%. What are your thoughts on this outlook?
I believe as Texans are becoming more conscientious of what we are consuming there is a demand for higher quality options. What I love about the St. Elmo Public Market is that it is the opposite of a mall. It’s a concentration of local artisans who take pride in the quality of their craft. Each tenant was hand-selected because their products are some of the best commercially available and we look forward to collaborating with as many other tenants as possible.

5. Any plans for expanding in the future? If so, where next?
Beyond this new location, we do not have any plans to expand further. Our goal is to remain a local business focusing on quality beer and the reformation of Texas beer laws.

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