Beer Market brings global taste to Liberty Hill

Liberty Hill Beer Market owner Genc Krasniqi stands in front of what will be a walk-in cooler for beer once the market opens next month. (Lauren Jette Photo)

Liberty Hill Beer Market owner Genc Krasniqi stands in front of what will be a walk-in cooler for beer once the market opens next month. (Lauren Jette Photo)

By Lauren Jette

Locals looking for a spot to grab a beer and watch some sports won’t have to go to Austin to find a casual place with a good atmosphere and a variety of beverages once Liberty Hill Beer Market opens next month.

Genc Krasniqi and his family are working on the building next to Boomer’s at the corner of State Highway 29 and RR 1869, which used to be an old bank, and are aiming to hold a Dec. 20 grand opening.

“We’re going to have a focus on craft beers, ciders, wine, Italian bar food. We’ll have pizza, calzone, stromboli, calamari. Typical Italian bar food,” Krasniqi said.

The Liberty Hill Beer Market will be a second location to the Leander Beer Market, which Krasniqi and his family opened little more than a year ago.

“The variety for the beers, what we do is rotate them constantly,” Krasniqi explained. “On average, at the Leander location, we work with 26 distributors. Ben E. Keith alone has 5,700 craft beers in their warehouses. It’s a man’s dream. What we do every week, we do not replenish the same beer. We bring in something new. We’ll keep the bread and butter, top 10 most common beers, but the rest of it will be always something new and something intriguing.

“We’ll have that beer made in that small village in the Philippines, we’ll have beers from Brazil, Japan, anywhere.”

The idea to open a second location in Liberty Hill came from local customers who frequented the location in Leander, Krasniqi said.

“A lot of the community in Liberty Hill are people that have traveled abroad or people who have been in the military, so stationed abroad, so a lot of them miss their beers,” he said. “You talk to them and they’re like, ‘I was stationed in Germany and I had this cool beer.’ I’m like, Grosch? Only three ingredients, we have it.”

In addition to the beer, wine, bar food and TVs, Liberty Hill Beer Market will also have projection screens for football and an outdoor patio for live music, Krasniqi said. They will also have a unique place for all their beer, after turning what used to be the former bank’s vault into a walk-in cooler.

“We took the shelving and everything the bank had (out), and we’re going to build a walk-in cooler for beers. We’re going to run tap lines and build a long bar,” he explained. “We’re going to have arcade games, a pool table. Something that on an afternoon when you don’t have anything to do, hey, come by grab a beer, watch a game, chill. We’re going to work on getting the patio established. We love live music. That was the main attraction that stopped us here (at this location). We want to proactively redesign that (outdoor) area so we can get more people to enjoy it,” he said.

Another interesting design element is the addition of a shipping container that will house the kitchen.

“It’s 9,000 pounds. You can’t steal it, you can’t break it. Tornados can’t do anything to it, unless they take the whole building,” Krasniqi said with a laugh. “We’re going to open two doors (in the building) and connect it to the shipping container. We’re already establishing the kitchen inside. I think it will be something cool, something to put Liberty Hill on the map.”

The idea for a beer market came from a place in New York, where Krasniqi and his family relocated to Texas from in January 2010.

“We had the idea from Brooklyn Brewery in Brooklyn. We saw that they had something miniature, like a beer garden thing, but their focus was brewing. Also, Hay Merchant in Houston,” he explained. “(Hay Merchant) started out as a place where hay merchants would gather to trade bales of hay, and then somebody put a food cart, then the beer stand and then all of a sudden you have 50 taps and 300 beers. And people stopped trading bales of hay and started drinking beer. So we looked at that and said, why can’t we do it? And we built it in Leander and it turned out very cool. People love it.”

Krasniqi said that while there might be some concern about opening a beer market in Liberty Hill, it will be a safe, family-friendly environment for all to enjoy.

“We’re family-owned and operated. I can’t stress enough how important it is to us,” he said. “We’re not chasing money as much as we chase a good atmosphere, a safe, family-oriented atmosphere. We’ve done that in Leander. Leander has been in business over a year or so. We have never had a fight there. In a bar, you always have to cut people off, here, no. We attract the right set of customers.”

Liberty Hill Beer Market has already seen support from the City of Liberty Hill, and Krasniqi is excited to see his establishment become a local favorite.

“We’re working with the City,” he said. “Everybody has been welcoming. I think they realize the potential this business has. It could become a community center, not just a business…I think it will keep more people in town, because now there is something to do other than go to Austin. There is a place where you can go with family and not feel awkward.

“I’m excited. Good things are about to happen,” he added.