Former One Tree Hill star Danneel Ackles opens up about her newest venture, a family-friendly brewery in Dripping Springs, Texas.

By Alessandra Rey, Photos by Julia Keim

Austin has always been family-centric, a great place for raising kids, with its small-town feel. However, it also lends itself to a bustling and vibrant bar scene, one that, up until now, has been anything but family-friendly.

Family Business Beer Company opened its doors on Jan. 10, and has become a quick success. The small brewery is as honest in nature as it is in name, offering a family-friendly environment perfect for parents looking for a fun weekend activity.

“Austin’s got this really incredible energy,” says Danneel Ackles, the co-founder of Family Business Beer Company. “There’s a spirit here. People are business-friendly. It’s a great town to not only raise kids, but grow a business as well.”

Ackles first made her mark in the television and film industry, starring in One Tree Hill, shot in North Carolina, and, along with her husband, Jensen Ackles, in Supernatural, set in Vancouver. But both are Southerners at heart.

“We had more people in our wedding party from Texas than from anywhere else,” Danneel Ackles says. “There’s just something so appealing about [Texas]. There’s a lot going on here.”

The idea for a family-owned brewery came about before they had even considered moving. Jensen Ackles and Danneel Ackles’ brother are both avid home brewers.

“They kept practicing and brewing different things, and they became pretty great with it,” Danneel Ackles recalls. “Jensen had a friend who needed to store his pilot system [machinery needed for home brewing], which is a pretty big, scary-looking piece of machinery. It came into my backyard and I was thinking, ‘Hmm, are you guys going to blow up my house with this?’ ”

What at first seemed so foreign eventually became the family’s new business. After unsuccessfully finding a location for their business-to-be, it was Danneel Ackles’ uncle who introduced them to a 15-acre plot of untouched land next to his own 365 acres in Dripping Springs, Texas, the ideal spot for a brewery.

The Ackleses moved to Austin a week later.

“It wasn’t what we had in our minds. We just wanted a tiny little industrial space,” Danneel Ackles says. “If you let things happen organically, I feel like you’ll get a better product.”

The brewery, now at its two-month mark, provides Austin locals and visitors with a family-friendly locale close to the city. With nine different beers on tap, including year-round, seasonal and rotating brews, and a large playground, it’s no wonder Family Business Beer Company is an attractive place to spend a sunny afternoon with everyone sans a babysitter.

“It’s great because parents have a place to come and have a drink while their kids play,” Danneel Ackles says.

Not only does the brewery offer a family-friendly environment, but it also embraces Austin as a city with very unique things to offer.

“We source organically and locally. We’re also environmentally friendly,” Danneel Ackles says. “All of those things are really important if you’re going to be an Austin company. And they’re important to us personally.”

As a businesswoman, Danneel Ackles embodies yet another Austin ideal: entrepreneurship.

“I’ve always liked concocting plans and have at least three things on my back burner at all times,” she admits. “I thrive in the chaos. As soon as the brewery opened and did well, I wanted to have another location.”

She is quick to explain the brewery was by no means built overnight and credits the business’ success to its large staff, which is as family-friendly and innovative as the company itself.

“Our head brewer is so creative and such a wonderful person to work with. I love that with our business, we can all sit at one table and throw all of our ideas out there,” she says.

In true entrepreneurial spirit, Danneel Ackles has no plans for slowing down.

“I’d love to distribute our beer, but with places as family-friendly as we are,” she says. “I’d love a second location definitely in Austin because we want to bring people into this city.”

With an ongoing acting career, three kids and a now popular brewery, Danneel Ackles is focusing on building something the community can fall in love with, just as she fell in love with Austin.

“If you make a good product and you’re honest about how you do it, Austin will respond to it,” Danneel Ackles explains. “When there’s kids playing on the playground and people laughing, it’s what you think of for years, and you realize [your dream]is in front of you and that is the most gratifying.”


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